Home to more than 1.3 billion people, the subcontinent nation of India has the fourth largest GDP for purchasing power worldwide according to the CIA World Factbook. Nevertheless, the nation still faces challenges as a developing nation. Communications Today writes of obstacles that include “spectrum crunch, [poor] quality of services, [and] under-investment in passive infrastructure”. The article points out that these challenges are particularly visible in rural regions that lack the workforce needed for infrastructure implementation.
While it is true that India’s IT and digital markets have grown by leaps and bounds in the past twenty years, ET Telecom points out that expensive spectrum auctions and slower connection speeds have contributed to a lag in communications capability. Despite gaps in infrastructure, the CIA World Factbook reports that as many as 29.5% of India’s citizenry now have access to mobile connections. India is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world and, according to a report released by Ericsson last year, nearly 1.4 billion devices are expected to come online by 2021. Though the road ahead is steep, demand is pushing network availability forward and connectivity costs down.
In this land of contrasts, the Internet of Things presents an interesting opportunity to speed up the spread of network infrastructure to promote business development and increase technological capability. As Aeris CEO Marc Jones recently told ET Telecom, “The market opportunity for IoT in India is massive – and will continue to grow as more and more businesses realize the value that IoT solutions have to offer”. Industry, government, and network providers all stand to benefit from IoT’s expansion.
Expanding Opportunity, Boosting Industry, and Revolutionizing Agriculture
While CNN reports that mobile connections often are slow in India, demand for better Internet is rising. The Internet of Things (IoT) could catalyze the leap forward needed to bring the Internet to every business and marketplace.
IoT means automation for the nation’s textile, agricultural, and chemicals industry with the advancement of machine to machine (M2M) communication. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, more than 5,000 farmers already are using IoT connected tractors that generate 5MB of data a day, tracking “vehicle operations on a real-time basis” according to Your Story. Likewise, improved environmental conditions monitoring and safety technology for India’s mining industry could greatly improve working conditions throughout the industrial sector. Based on current investment trends in IoT, Your Story reports that India “will soon have 1.9 billion IoT devices installed, with a market size of $9 billion”.
Perhaps most promising of all, IoT will reinvigorate the nation’s IT industry. While IT has lagged across the nation in recent years, Quartz India reports that IoT raked in some $1.52 billion for India in 2017, “accounting for 44% of the $3.5 billion global IoT technology services outsourcing market”. Thus, India will not only benefit from IoT growth within its own borders, but it also may make substantial contributions to support IoT around the world.
Roadmapping the Future for IoT in India
IoT networks will kick-start investment in infrastructure, support economic growth, and link regions of India previously cut off from reliable Internet. India also is planning to be among the first nations to adopt 5G and this is expected to create additional adoption of IoT in sectors such as industrial IoT and automotive.
The widespread emergence of IoT in India could take many forms depending on the preferred connection type. As of now, no single connection standard exists across the industry, allowing for competition and demanding flexibility from network providers. Network options range from wireless to cellular or even low power wide area (LPWA) network connections. Each connection type fits a certain need within the market. Carrier- and technology-agnostic Aeris is working to adapt flexible, creative solutions for businesses and civil entities.
IoT for Rural Regions
What about rural regions of India with little to no solid network infrastructure? IoT connectivity is still possible through LPWA networks. LPWA also is ideal for keeping costs down or collecting data over a large region. Although LPWA networks only can transmit small amounts of data at a time, they are inexpensive and can stretch over several kilometers. LPWA networks are flexible in the form of information they provide and can be controlled from something as simple as a DIY raspberry pi computer. These LPWA networks could be used for rural municipal governments, environmental monitoring, farmers in remote areas, and even rural schools.
By comparison, cellular connectivity is perfect for India’s urban outdoor environments. Aeris is working hard to bring faster cellular connections to India, and these connections will give IoT network managers the power to instantly connect hundreds of items over a wide geographic range. The ability of cellular connectivity to cover a wide area also makes it ideal for large scale field work, agricultural automation, logistics and transportation, and government-based applications.
Of the different connection types available, Marc Jones tells ET Telecom, “We are building out capabilities to support a wide-range of IoT-focused wireless technologies, including Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies like LTE-M, NB-IoT, LoRa, and others. We expect these technologies will ultimately combine with 5G to form a heterogeneous network that supports large scale IoT deployments for our customers.”
Just like India, Aeris is growing to meet the needs of clients around the globe. We serve hundreds of companies and offer creative network solutions across almost every industry. Interested in setting up a reliable IoT network that works with the available infrastructure in your area? Aeris can help grow network opportunities in urban and rural locales across the world.
While Marc Jones reminded ET Telecom that “companies implementing IoT solutions generally are not software providers, and often lack the skills necessary to design, implement, and (perhaps most importantly) extract value from an IoT solution”, Aeris is pushing for a higher standard of service that offers end-to-end consultation, setup, and support services for any form of IoT network.
With a full-time team of experts on the ground in India and an office in Noida, Aeris is uniquely equipped to build out networks that adapt to all the challenges India has to offer. We will work closely with your engineers and IT team to come up with the perfect network, link it to the cloud, and provide continued support and services. Contact us today to get your company connected to the Internet of Things.