The Internet of Things (IoT) has created a lot of buzz in the technology industry as of late. There are various speculations of its advantages and the challenges that it faces. To have a better understanding of IoT and the opportunities that it will offer in the future, we interviewed an industry expert Shafi Patel – IoT Evangelist, Global Technology Head Collabera TACT 18+ Years of Experience of research, design and development in Embedded Systems, ESDM, IoT, Medical Electronics, Networking, IT and Project management. 10+ years of experience as skill development and corporate trainer in Embedded, Communication, and IoT domain. This is what he has to say:
Q1. How would you best describe IoT? Why has it gained so much buzz in the recent years?
Ans. The IoT can be best described as a network of objects embedded with sensors, computers and actuators to acquire, process and analyse the data to improve the real-life environment. Internet of things is all about optimising operational efficiencies through creating analytically rich data sets and automated analytical tools. Gartner has predicted that more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. The global IoT market will be $14.4 trillion according to Cisco. The adoption of IoT is increasing at an exponential rate as it has the potential to deliver efficiency in processes and cost optimisation to a broad spectrum of enterprise tasks.
Q2. From which professional backgrounds is it possible to make a shift to IoT?
Ans. Internet of things is basically a collection of many technologies. New roles and opportunities are being created with the exponential increase in the connected devices. Because of the increasing demand of internet of things, skills like electronic circuit design, application development, microcontroller programming, data analytics and networking are also increasingly getting in demand. IoT is an inter-dependent technology and does not require an overall shift from your current roles and responsibilities. Professionals from any background can start their career in IoT with a basic training.
Q3. What are the skills or expertise that someone must learn or have in order to be successful in the IoT field?
Ans. A few skills professionals need to have a basic understanding of are — electronic circuit design, microcontroller computing platforms, and programming languages preferably C and Python, networking, and communication technologies, cloud computing and big data. IoT is basically a combination of multiple skills. A diversified skill set is more in demand in IoT. Professionals can choose any of the above-mentioned areas to gain expertise once they have an overall understanding of all the components of IoT, depending on their desired role.
Q4. What’s the connection of IoT with Big Data and how is it going to be affected?
Ans. A huge volume of data is being generated as a result of the addition of new sources. In fact, 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data is being generated every day. Internet of Things, Big Data and cloud are all interconnected. As data is not just growing in size but also in variety, there is an increased focus on analysing it in real time to extract important insights. There is a need to develop more effective tools to leverage big data as the conventional tools to store and process data are not enough to handle big data.
Also Read>> Big Data and IoT : Making The Connection
Q5. What is the security concerns related to IoT? Is the present security infrastructure enough to handle the data security requirements of IoT?
Ans. Data privacy and security concerns are rising because of the exponential increase in the connected devices in homes, offices and industries. These devices are vulnerable to hacking. There is a lot of concern in the mind of people about data being stolen from their devices. There are potentially three hack points: devices, network and cloud. Data is moving in networks while it is at rest on devices and cloud. IoT endpoints could be used by hackers to attack servers. Device designers and software developers are ensuring adequate security and privacy measures at the initial stage of design and development.
Q6. Can you name some of the industries which have benefited the most from IoT?
Ans. There are, already, many successful IoT implementations. The world’s largest producer of printing press, Heidelberg (with a market share of nearly 50% of the world), has transformed their business by building connected printing presses. Jaguar Land Rover is another example of successful IoT implementation; they implemented connected car project which has become a differentiator in the high-end automotive market, creating high levels of brand loyalty. Latest in the list of successful IoT implementation is Amazon Go, which has revolutionised the retail industry. Amazon Go has merged the digital world with the real world for creating amazing customer experience
Q7. What advice can you give to the students or professionals who are interested in a career in IoT?
Ans. The best advice is, “there couldn’t be a better time to redefine your careers”. An early entry into emerging market will definitely be better as most of the organisations are in exploratory mode. IoT has been disrupting existing business and markets. New opportunities are being created and at the same time, existing roles are becoming obsolete.
Q8. How will IoT benefit the end-users?
Ans. IoT is continuously changing the way we live, work and entertain. Because of IoT, immense opportunities and possibilities are being created for businesses to innovate in services and products. It has the potential of impacting all the aspects of an end-user’s life. Devices are being made context-aware by embedding intelligence into them. And not just devices, we are also embedding intelligence into the environment, and through this embedded intelligence we are enabling it to capture real-time data. This harnessing of intelligence will definitely enhance and augment human capabilities to understand and improve the quality of their lives.
Q9. Which technology do you think will make IoT a game changer in the future?
Ans. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Q10. How do you think IoT will shape in the years ahead? Will it lead to something bigger?
Ans. Gartner has predicted that by 2020 more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet in one way or the other. With the sensors embedded in these devices, the primary aim is to make these devices autonomous. A parallel society of more than 100 billion smart, intelligent, self-reliant, and autonomous machines will be built along with human society. These machines will certainly help us in making business and production processes efficient. We are already a part of an intelligence-driven world. It will enhance the continuous process of human evolution through a series of new inventions.