Auckland – The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon become critical to helping New Zealand raise its productivity and prosperity, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.
Much of the current hype around IoT has been derived from consumer IoT such as fitness trackers and intelligent fridges. The real value to be had from the Internet of Things is in enterprise and government applications.
A collaborative national research project is underway to better understand the potential benefits (and risks) of IoT for the New Zealand economy. The project, being managed by NZTech, brings together major tech users, tech firms, the government, academia and industry groups such as TUANZ and InternetNZ, all who have an interest in the potential impact of IoT for New Zealand.
IoT impact of how Kiwis work
Muller says IoT is becoming a growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how Kiwis live but also how they work.
Fast broadband is becoming more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with wi-fi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are dropping, and smartphone penetration is sky-rocketing.
Research project important
Putting all these rapid developments into the mix is creating a perfect platform for IoT to take off, Muller says, this is why the research project and a better understanding of how to apply IoT are needed.
“While IoT is a rapidly developing technology, understanding of its potential is still relatively limited. By undertaking a collaborative research project with the government, the tech sector and tech users we have an opportunity to raise the profile of IoT and highlight its potential,” Muller says.
“The research will also help us understand opportunities that IoT could create for different sectors, and any barriers or challenges that may need to be addressed to accelerate deployment.
“IoT presents a massive opportunity for technology to drive New Zealand’s economic growth. Yet to accelerate deployment and uptake, a better understanding of the opportunities is needed.
“While the research won’t be completed until mid-year, some initial observations give us cause for optimism. While current uptake is very low, with only around 10 percent of New Zealand businesses having deployed or currently planning to deploying IoT type technologies, New Zealand has all the ingredients for a business environment that will support accelerated growth.
“Compared to the G20 nations, New Zealand scores well for IoT readiness due to ease of doing business, government stability, regulatory quality, a good innovation ecosystem and education system.”
Initial economic analysis has identified potential economic benefits in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the New Zealand economy through the deployment of IoT in sectors as diverse as agriculture, utilities, manufacturing, logistics and smart city services.
Some of the interesting uses of IoT in New Zealand that the research has identified include:
Connected Cow sheds: The faster milk is cooled the better quality it will be. Cooling milk uses about 30 percent of the total energy costs for running a dairy farm. IoT sensors and actuators can manage the temperatures at each stage of milk flow. Real time alerts are sent by text message or app notification if problems are identified. This enables the farmer to resolve the problem quickly to minimise milk loss.
Smart street lighting: Saves a city money in energy costs and reduces pollution by intelligently trimming and dimming individually addressed lights. Auckland Transport is installing around 40,000 smart LED streetlights which can individually respond to local light conditions saving millions.
Better health and safety: Wearables for employees can manage that employee’s site access levels, improve awareness and adherence to health and safety requirements, and enable better utilisation of staff in real time workforce management.
The research will be published in June this year. Global researcher IDC forecasts there will be 30.4 billion connected things worldwide by 2020.