NEW DELHI— India is pushing the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and hopes to make it a $15 billion industry by 2020, according to the government’s first draft policy on the subject.
Internet-of-Things (IoT) refers to devices that are connected and controlled through the Internet, like thermostats, phones, refrigerators, cars, and clocks.
The draft policy, produced by the Department of Electronic and Information Technology (DeitY), says IoT “promises to offer tremendous opportunities for many industries” and hopes to use it for everything from parking to healthcare to water management to women’s safety.
Hundred Smart Cities
In the first budget under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, $1.1 billion was allocated for the development 100 smart cities around India.
The policy draft says IoTs “will be critical in making these cities smarter.”
“The entire momentum or the entire [IoT] initiative actually started with the arrival of the Modi government, and definitely he has actually introduced a lot of confidence into the industry eco-system, into the industry stake holders,” said Rahul Nag, technology communications expert at Text 100, a global communications company.
In August, the Modi’s cabinet approved a program called “Digital India” that would establish digital infrastructure for the country and connect hundreds of thousands of villages to the Web.
The program will be phased in over the next five years, laying the groundwork for a boom in India’s tech business.
The draft policy projects India’s IoT industry to be 5 to 6 percent of the global IoT industry by 2020, which the International Data Corporation (IDC) projects will be worth $8.9 trillion by that time. By comparison, in 2012, the industry was valued at just $4.8 trillion.
“The demand for increasingly intelligent industry solutions based on IoT will drive trillions of dollars in opportunity for IT [information technology] industry and even more for the companies that take advantage of the IoT,” the draft says.
Tauseef Motiwala, the founder and principal consultant at Perspicacious Car Parking Consultants (PCPC) in Mumbai, is one such example. Started by Motiwala three years ago, PCPC currently has contracts for 42 smart car-parking projects around the country.
He says there is an increasing trend towards automatic, multi-level parking systems and says his company is not able to meet the demand.
“In the next few years, we expect the demand to increase further,” he said.
With the expansion of IoT in the country, the draft policy cited a need for standardization, and a committee of industry insiders who could help create those standards.
“There’s no inter-connection or standardization mechanism, so everybody is doing this on their own, everybody is planning the IoT in their own way, and they are preparing the devices and software in their own way,” said Ashok Chandak, chairman of the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association.
According to a white paper released by Cisco Systems in 2011, the number of IoT devices surpassed the number of humans on the planet in 2008 or 2009. Next year, it estimates there will be 25 billion internet connected devices, and by 2020, that number could be 50 billion.