NZ firms unwilling to go down 'Internet of Things' rabbithole, industry report shows
By Paul McBeth
June 29 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand companies are reluctant to roll out 'Internet of Things' services, despite the country's preparedness and potential economic gain of doing so, according to an industry report.
The IoT Alliance was launched in March to pool government and industry resources to capture the gains on offer from the rise of machine-to-machine connectivity, and today released a report estimating just nine applications could generate between $1.1 billion and $3.3 billion in productivity and efficiency gains to the economy over the next 10 years.
"The economic analysts derived this number from the productivity and efficiency benefits of a mere nine applications of IoT across agribusiness, cities, utilities, asset management and manufacturing," the report said. "The potential benefit to the total economy could be significantly higher."
The research showed 70 percent of New Zealand firms are in the process of preparing strategies for the new technology in the belief it will be "transformational or strategic to their business", however just 14 percent have actually deployed solutions with investment typically held back by a lack of understanding of the benefits by senior executives, concern over being tied to proprietary systems, the fast-moving pace of technology, and a lack of clarity over privacy provisions.
To overcome the lack of uptake, the report's authors say industry, government and academia need to work more closely together to reduce fragmentation, primary and secondary schools should place greater emphasis on digital learning, and tertiary education should offer more courses where students can develop skills for future jobs. The report also says the government should remove barriers deterring research in IoT and try to educate businesses about standard protocols to ease fears about adopting the technology.
New Zealand's telecommunications infrastructure is already acknowledged as being among the world's best since the government-sponsored roll-out of a national fibre network, and carriers anticipate fifth-generation mobile technology will start coming on stream in 2020 to complement that backbone, providing faster connectivity and shorter latency times to support 'Internet of Things' services.
The IoT Alliance report recommends hardware vendors need to focus their sales pitches more on the value of data rather than the technology itself, and should work together "to build alliances to create the momentum to enable scaled deployments".
The report said "the government should be the catalyst for change" by driving investment through introducing an IoT strategy, framework and policy, including a review of the Privacy Act to replace an "outdated principle of 'data minimisation'," and modernise it for a "data rich" environment.
"A clear government position on IoT will help New Zealand to deploy cohesive and unified smart city initiatives across the country," the report said. "Government investment in flagship IoT initiatives will also accelerate New Zealand's transition into a digital nation and propel New Zealand's productivity."