‘IoT era’ to serve the best interest of business sector

‘IoT era’ to serve the best interest of business sector

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Rakan Tarabzouni

Layan Damanhouri
Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years with businesses being the top adopter of IoT solutions, according to statistics recently revealed by Microsoft.

While the “Internet of Things era” is rapidly developing with more and more smart devices being connected, figures show that that 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Traditional computing devices including smartphones, tablets, and smart watches, will comprise 10 billion.

Everyday items and home appliances, including both personal and professional, continue to become smart and connected are predicted to provide more accurate information and enable better and faster decision-making.

These smart and connected “things” through which information is being generated include home alarm devices, thermostats, smart TVs, cars, point of sale terminals, ATMs among many other connected devices will in the coming few years besides wearable technology that includes smart watches, smart glasses, and smart sports shoes.

Speaking on the Internet of Things, Rakan Tarabzouni, head of Windows OS & Devices at Microsoft Arabia, said: “What makes IoT unique and powerful is that it liberates users from being bounded by their physical location. This means that people can remotely control and monitor smart devices and appliances they have without having to be located physically at the device’s place. For example, users will be able to run and control lighting systems at their houses before actually reaching home through special Internet applications.”

Asked about the impact on businesses in the coming years, he said “the business sector will have the biggest advantages of this technology because it’ll provide the ability to gather a large amount of data and information created by different machines, and it will give the ability to go to the next level in terms of planning and analysis to make companies take the right decision, and increase their productivity and decrease the cost.”

The Internet of Things market size in the MENA region is estimated to grow to $7.41 billion by 2019, compared to $2.87 billion last year, creating an annual growth rate of 20.9%. In Saudi Arabia, a 30 % of this growth will be recorded by the IoT market and estimated to grow to $2.19 billion by 2019. Connected cars, buildings and connected sectors will be the key IoT trends in the next five years, and will account for 98% of Internet of Things technology revenues things in the Kingdom.

Experts predict a major challenge of the exponentially growing data volume that will result from this vast number of connected things and devices. “It’s hard to control a huge amount of data, and it needs hours or days to process it, which means that the companies will lose the value of data.
This creates a new challenge in the market and needs to the high level of new solutions to analysis, process, and giving the right decision,” said Tarabzouni. “Companies realized the importance of large data, so they use a massive data to get accurate information about consumer behavior, and target marketing, revitalize and increase profits.”

Microsoft recently launched an IoT Windows 10 edition that allows programmers to develop universal Apps that serve as an interface for the user in Windows 10 IoT Core edition, featuring Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and run on mini-computers such as Raspberry Pi 22 and Minnowboard Max. Additionally, initiatives are made to increase adopting IoT and expanding of the scope of IoT solutions by lowering operating costs, increasing productivity, expanding to new markets and developing new technology product offerings.

Maintaining privacy and protection for huge amount of data remains a major challenge for businesses worldwide. Solutions include advanced encryption techniques which no one can decrypt but the users themselves, spreading users’ data among several servers to make unauthorized accessing or copying of the data impossible, and other tools as Microsoft’s logs to register authorized employees who access the data.

Tarabzouni further said “Saudi Arabia is one of the highest countries in the world in mobile penetration, and that gives Saudi market competitive advantage compared to other countries in the region, and because of this, many companies in KSA are planning to adopt IoT technologies by mobiles apps to take the benefit of lowering the cost and taking the advantage of the high amount of data created by IoT devices.”

On the challenge of handling large data volumes, he said “it’s hard to control a huge amount of data, and it needs hours or days to process it, which is mean that the companies will lose the value of data. This creates a new challenge in the market and needs to the high level of new solutions to analysis, process, and giving the right decision.”

He added companies realized the importance of large data, so they use a massive data to get accurate information about consumer behavior, and target marketing, revitalize and increase profits.

Moreover, Tarabzouni said Microsoft provides advanced tools to protect the privacy of users’ data. “One of them is the advanced encryption techniques which no one can decrypt but the users themselves, which helps in this area. Another solution is that users’ data are spread among several servers to make unauthorized accessing or copying of the data impossible. Microsoft also provides easy to use tools to register the names of authorized employees who can access data, with an easy to read the log on which employee accessed which part of the data at which date and time.”

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