These web-connected devices, that can ‘talk’ to each other, transfer data, and carry out tasks without human interaction, are what make up the Internet of Things (IoT). They are becoming increasingly popular among technophiles and companies looking for an edge. And while the IoT is a generic term that relates largely to consumer products, the Industrial Internet, a termed coined by GE, refers to the same concept of connectivity in the Industrial space: the integration of sensors and software with hi-tech, complex machinery.
According to a report by global accounting firm Deloitte, the biggest potential in the MENA region lies in the latter with the Industrial Internet.Think smart cities and, factories that monitor their own carbon emissions, data and software analytics that allow renewables to be more efficient, or aircraft engines that tell you when maintenance is needed.
The report also suggests that regionally, the combined growth of both consumer-level IoT and industrial level Industrial Internet will surpass the global average by 10 to 20 percent in 2015. It adds the value of the market for both concepts and the extra customer services required to run them will hit almost $2 billion.
Right now, there are only a handful of startups already working in either the IoT or the Industrial Internet space, many still prototyping products. This means the opportunities for entrepreneurs is enormous here – the meaningful analysis big data on either the consumer or industrial fronts is the future of how we will work.
Some of the challenges startups in this area face are the same as their more prolific and financially flexible corporate cousins: data security and addressing potential customers’ concerns about privacy; the lack of common standards between companies developing software for these devices; and the need to build physical infrastructure to support the collection and analysis of the data.