A landmark national research study estimates the rollout of IoT (Internet of Things) is likely to produce a benefit for the New Zealand economy of billions of dollars.
The study found that just across a mere nine common IoT applications the potential net benefit over 10 years could be $2.2 billion in present value terms.
The 92-page report was commissioned by the New Zealand IoT Alliance, an independent member funded group of tech firms, major corporates, startups, universities and government agencies.
Alliance Chair and NZTech Chief Executive Graeme Muller says while there is general agreement that IoT will be important for the New Zealand economy, until now there has been little research into its true potential.
“This study was been designed to provide a stocktake of the current ecosystem of IoT in New Zealand, an economic analysis of the potential impact to the economy of the deployment of IoT in various applications and identification of opportunities and risk.”
The primary objective is to identify opportunities for economic growth through clever use of the Internet of Things, the collection of real-life things that are connected to the Internet to collect and exchange data and enable people and organisations to make better decisions, solve problems and improve productivity.
“The report found New Zealand ranked highly as a nation in terms of IoT readiness yet a lack of understanding of the economic value appears to be holding back investment.
“The economic value that accelerated uptake of IoT could bring is substantial for the New Zealand economy.
“There are many ways to stimulate the uptake of IoT with most stemming from an increased awareness of the potential value that IoT can bring.”
Muller says New Zealand has a vibrant IoT ecosystem and some of the more significant IoT projects underway including:
- a number of local councils are planning or deploying ‘smart city’ initiatives
- many solutions being developed for the agribusiness sector, although few have reached scaled deployment status
- universities undertaking IoT research within health and wellness, facility and building management, and early childhood education
- telecommunications companies using their cellular connectivity to deliver IoT deployments
- several international technology organisations offering IoT services in New Zealand, such as example, Huawei, NEC, Cisco and IBM.
“New Zealand has world-class Internet connectivity with the rollouts of the government’s ultra-fast broadband and rural broadband initiatives, plus cellular networks and LPWAN,” Muller says.
“While all of these projects indicate an active IoT supply in New Zealand, the demand uptake is slower.
“The research found that only 14 per cent of New Zealand enterprises have deployed an IoT solution.
“The report makes quite a number of recommendations including one where the government should use their purchasing power to demonstrate the value IoT can offer in providing efficient and effective delivery of government services.
“The key inhibitor for IoT uptake in New Zealand is a lack of understanding, knowledge and skill.”
This is not a technical issue, it is an education and awareness issue, he believes.
“To increase IoT uptake we need to look at issues such as reducing market fragmentation and for discussions to move away from technology to solving business problems.
“Additionally, our government should ensure there are no unnecessary barriers deterring universities from undertaking research into IoT or preventing the IoT sector from accessing current research and development funding mechanisms,” Muller says.