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[NOTE: This is a similar article which I wrote on June 23, 2015. However, I am compelled to re-publish the same article because the challenges remained in 2016 is the same as in 2015]
People often asked me why Malaysia is slow in adopting Internet of Things. After so much hype, we rarely hear any success stories. Despite that we have been actively talking for more than two years (but if you are talking about M2M, i.e., pre-IOT days, this topic has been discussed for more than a decade). Also, we have been listening to many of IOT seminars regarding the promises of IOT to connect Billions of devices with Trillions of dollars of revenue, we still can’t see much of its implementation here in Malaysia. Why is that so? Why in other countries around the world, the take-up is far better than here?
In fact, I have always stressed the importance of collecting the data because what’s the use of talking about Big Data Analytics and IOT when there are not enough data in analyzing (sigh)? Where are the sensor data? Where is the IOT business?
There is one particular post at one of the IOT Group in LinkedIn that interests me. It’s about IOT frustration survey and the top 5 results are:
1. Hype and Confusion – 40% – the top answer by a wide margin, companies are confused by the bombardment of IoT messages, articles and ads. They are not sure what is true and how to proceed.
2. Implementation Difficulties and Ease of Use Issues – 23% – companies are frustrated by the process of finding the correct IoT hardware and software components for their situation. Where do they find easy ways to design, deploy, administer, and maintain their IoT network?
3. Security of data and transactions – 16% – security is the key frustration for companies that have started on an IoT Strategy Plan (they are past the hype and initial implementation questions) and are facing concerns over data privacy, anti-hacking protection methods and regulations.
4. Lack of IoT Standards – 14% – companies listed frustrations with the many wireless protocols, device clouds, data representation formats, and data analysis tools.
5. High Cost of IoT Deployments – 7% – companies are frustrated with the high cost of purchasing IoT components, software development, and system integration compared to the financial return. Given IoT is in such an early stage, it’s not surprising that Cost is currently lower on the frustration list. But Cost will go to the top of this list over time as IoT components become interoperable and commoditised.
I think Malaysia also faces similar frustrations although not in a particular order. However, I would add the sixth frustration i.e. IOT awareness. People might have heard about IOT but mainly in the consumer space – wearables and smart homes applications. But since the cost is still expensive, not many are willing to use them except for the few – i.e. the early adopters. Wearables and Smart home appliances are very fashionable and trendy. It will quickly become obsolete or less trendy when new and better gadgets are introduced. Personally, I have invested in many such devices just for the sake of becoming one the early adopters even though I know that after a year, it will be an “old” gadget. But then again, there are not many people like me.
Enterprise IOT applications are still lacking. These devices are not as trendy and fashionable like their consumer’s counterparts. Sensors that are being used in enterprises will last longer – maybe 3-5 years or even more. They are more robust and sometimes well-hidden somewhere. Thus, there is no need for some fancy design to house the sensors. However, these sensors can be more expensive, and when we talk about hundreds or thousands of sensors, the cost of deployment can become very prohibitive. To solve this, we need to have a win-win business model for both the IOT vendor and user.
Another “unspoken challenge” is the “resistance from within the company” itself. I have already described this in my previous post. Check – “Don’t let this ONE reason STOP you from implementing IOT”.
What other challenges or frustrations of IOT companies in doing business in Malaysia? Or are we facing similar problems elsewhere too? Why are we hearing a lot more success stories in developed countries such as Japan, Korea, USA, Spain, UK etc? Why not in our home country?
Or simply, most people JUST DON’T KNOW where to start their IOT journey?
About the Author
Dr. Mazlan Abbas is an IOT Evangelist, Thought Leader and CEO of REDtone IOT. You can reach him on LinkedIn at https://my.linkedin.com/in/mazlan/ or Twitter at http://twitter.com/mazlan_abbas . For further details, check out http://about.me/mazlan.abbas