Today, societal, commercial and industrial transformation is being driven on a global scale by digitalisation, which offers businesses significant opportunities for innovation, increased competition and faster waves of change. Digitalisation, in turn, is being driven by a number of technological levers, including social media, mobility and unified communications (UC), big data and analytics, pervasive connectivity, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Vaughn Naidoo, Telkom’s Executive for IT Solutions, Architecture & Strategy, believes one of the major changes we will see as the IoT takes hold will be how it drives big data like never before.
“Of course, being a telco, this is significant to us as there will be a huge surge of data sources being connected to the network. This means that networks will need to scale in capacity to handle the vast amounts of data that will be generated and to address their capability to enable communications between IoT capability providers and their IoT devices,” says Naidoo. “Telkom already has a massive, next-generation network, so we are well-positioned to handle these challenges.”
Inevitably, there are other challenges that will need to be overcome before the potential pervasiveness of the IoT can translate into the benefits anticipated by those touting it as the ‘next big thing.’
The first of these is the fact that personal data can be generated, collected and mined as part of an IoT ecosystem, which raises some concerns surrounding data privacy and security. Additionally, there are currently very few platforms or shared frameworks that can enable collaboration and innovation across IoT-enabled stacks. Compounding this is a lack of IoT standards at present.
Furthermore, with so much data being generated, transmitted, stored and processed, a great deal of worthless information will be gathered too. The usefulness of data and the relevance thereof will thus need to be assessed and managed on a regular basis.
Nonetheless, Naidoo is of the opinion that these challenges are not insurmountable, and it will not be long before the real benefits of the IoT shine through.
These, he says, will be many and varied and will include creative innovations, entire new industries and even breathing new life into product families that were on the road to irrelevance or extinction.
“As Telkom, we are well positioned to take advantage of the excitement generated by the IoT and we expect to leverage our network, data centres, big data warehousing and analytics to become a capability hub for IoT innovation,” says Naidoo.
This IoT capability will be an extension of our cloud services portfolio, complementing a ‘Platform as a Service’ approach to IoT innovation. It will also allow customers to leverage our services to connect their systems and applications to Internet-connected sensors, automation, appliances, wearables and other IoT devices.
“We will be able to host applications, data and systems that will manage, interact or collect data from IoT devices, as well as build IoT-enabled applications, analytics and control systems,” says Naidoo. “We will even connect customer IoT devices to third party IoT capability providers.”
“Naturally, we are still at the beginning of this great change. No one can really appreciate what a truly pervasive IoT will mean or what impact it might have on us, our businesses and society when every device, everywhere, is able to connect, communicate and be controlled via centralised or distributed systems. The one thing we can be sure of is that it will not be boring,” he concludes.