Companies bet on Internet of Things in India

  • M Rajendran,, Bengaluru
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2015 01:37 IST

C Raman, an IT executive at Cisco, gets a tweet from his strawberry plant everyday while he is on holiday, informing him that it has been watered for the day.

No, this isn’t science fiction, but one of many successful experiments that Cisco conducts to demonstrate the rising importance of the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is a scenario where objects, animals and people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network, without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Raman has fitted a sensor and a bottle filled with water to his strawberry plant. The sensor, connected to his Wi-Fi, gauges the humidity, moisture and water level, and sends a signal to Raman as a tweet. When he replies, the sensor gets a message to release the water. The sensor uses an algorithm to calculate the amount of water to be released, which is captured and tweeted to Raman.

Yes, what you read is what actually happens!

US-based Avaya is in the process of offering solutions to an educational institution in India, which will help isolate students’ tabs, cellphones and laptops from applications such as WhatsApp when they use Wi-Fi on campus. It, however, allows the teacher full access to internet enabling him to shoot and send a video clip to parents about their child’s behaviour.

Companies, including Cisco, Google, Apple and Avaya, are set to dig into the IoT market, which is likely to be touch $7-trillion mark globally by 2020, according to the International Data Corporation. Firms are resorting to mergers and acquisitions and coming up with new ideas for IoT as it is estimated to become a $15-billion market in India by 2020, and possibly touch $1 trillion subsequently, according to a draft paper released by the department of electronics and IT.

“Proposed smart cities and other brownfield projects are likely to offer huge growth opportunities for IoT in India,” said Nalinikanth Gollagunta, MD and country head, commercial sales, Cisco Systems (India).

Though the prospects appear bright, security may pose a concern. Companies say solutions would be inbuilt to ensure data safety and security. Mining, manufacturing, health, agriculture and education are the key areas where IoT is likely to see growth.

“Data analytics are built to ensure safety and security,” says Amit Phadnis, president, engineering and India site leader, Cisco Systems (India). Cisco is exploring opportunities beyond simple tweets to irrigating fields and analysing agricultural data. “Our focus is to help companies and institutions be a part of IoT seamlessly, without junking their existing networks; that’s a huge opportunity,” says Satish Murthy, senior director, research and development, Avaya.

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