Internet is continuing its triumphant march across the globe. Across the globe, there has been an ongoing demand for making internet a basic human right now.
Just few years ago in Bangladesh, internet usage was limited to a certain group of people -perceived to be at the upper echelon- of the society here. With the advent of new applications and rich multi-media contents, this is no longer the case. Over the years, internet has proven its prominence and necessity in health, education, transport, energy, entertainment, financial and several other sectors of the country.
Nowadays, internet has further infiltrated our lives through huge number of devices that can automatically communicate with each other, as they are smart enough to store and send data by themselves.
For instance, a smart watch can remind you about a meeting, a smart refrigerator can notify you about restocking certain food, a smart meter can let you monitor your household power usage on your smartphone, and a smart monitoring system can warn about security threats in your workplace. This revolutionary technology, that connects devices through internet, has endless possibilities. It is generally referred as the Internet of Things or IoT.
IoT is mostly powered by large-scale communication networks working in sync with smart devices to gather data from various sensors. These data can be analyzed to understand certain consumer trends, and provide exclusive analytics and insights. These facilitate significant value addition for the service providers and enhance their customer satisfaction.
Despite its transformational power, our country is still to harness the full potential of IoT. There are many device manufacturers, academicians and developers in the country working with various IoT endeavours.
However, if everyone is taking a step forward but in different directions, then it sometimes become difficult to reach the ultimate goal. So, a holistic IoT ecosystem along with marketplace has become very necessary to foster the growth of this technology in Bangladesh.
An IoT marketplace will assist IoT device manufacturers and suppliers to bring their products to application developers, who can then design software that will be compatible with such devices manufactured by multiple vendors. Moreover, an open IoT platform will allow a healthy competition among the developers to find the best solution for- a given requirement. Consequently, consumers will be gifted with high-quality applications that can serve their needs. The same is true in the device side as well, where multiple vendors will compete with each other to bring down the best product in optimum price in the market. All these consequently will stimulate IoT adoption.
Communication service provides, specially telecom operators can play a leading role in developing such a marketplace. The network connectivity provided by the telcos can be the catalyst in bringing together the device manufacturers and software developers towards a common IoT platform. Besides, with the availability of fast internet services, a significant portion of the customer base is switching towards Over-The-Top (OTT) content services to cover all their communication needs. From business perspective, it has become a major concern for future revenue generation for communication service providers. By accommodating up-to-date 7 weather forecast, power usage, remote monitoring can be matter of click by dint of IoT.
On the other hand, telecommunication service providers can collaborate with government and private entities across a varied domain, ranging from agriculture industry to health sector, from automotive industry to education sector, to provide end-to-end solution for their IoT needs. These user entities can also utilise the physical and digital infrastructures of the telcos to gather, store and analyze the massive data generated from their smart devices. Such integration of IoT can provide the telcos competitive edge in the market.
To obtain and effective integration of IoT, some challenges need to be addressed. The first hurdle is to popularize the idea. History has shown us that without enough momentum, even good technologies fail to come to fruition. Raising awareness and engagement about IoT can greatly expedite its adoption. The government can play a vital role in this regard by formulating a national policy; which will encourage the entire ecosystem players; such as start-ups, freelancers, and students to focus their time and energy on a revolutionary technology like IoT. This will drive innovation, create new opportunities and ultimately will help to implement country’s digital vision.
Additionally, to encourage more research and innovation around IoT, meaningful industry-academia collaboration are needed, with proper funding and resource engagement from both ends. These will create many IoT enthusiasts, who will be capable to make a difference by their innovative and commercially viable IoT application and services.
With its massive prospect, Internet of Things (IoT) can play a huge role to accelerate the progressive journey of Bangladesh. So it is high time that all concerned ends come forward and work together with to achieve IoT potential of the country. ■