New Zealand could reap $2.2 billion of economic benefits over ten years from the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) across key sectors of economy, but barriers to wide-scale deployment need to be addressed.
Specifically, $558 million of benefits could flow from the deployment of IoT in the transport and logistics sector, a new report found, and $448 million in the dairy sector.
The report, commissioned by the New Zealand IoT Alliance, found interest in and awareness of IoT was growing, with a number of foundational projects under way.
Local councils are planning or deploying 'Smart City' initiatives based in part on IoT, solutions are being developed for the agribusiness sector, universities are undertaking IoT research and telecommunications companies are using their cellular connectivity to deliver IoT deployments.
"A race is underway to implement low powered wide area networks (LPWAN), designed specifically for IoT data," the report said.
"Thinxtra and Kotahinet are currently building LPWAN’s across New Zealand and Vodafone Group has been trialling its version called NBIoT (Narrowband IoT) which is expected to be deployed in New Zealand in the future."
International technology organisations such as Huawei, NEC, Cisco and IBM are, of course, also offering IoT services in New Zealand. Perhaps most prominently, NEC has formed a partnership with Wellington City to use the city as its IoT laboratory.
Communications Minister Bridges said the IoT Alliance's research will help industry, government and academics understand the potential of IoT and what it means for New Zealand.
“Given IoT is an emerging technology, there’s still a lot we don’t know. The research tells a really positive story that the benefit of IoT could be far greater to our economy,” Bridges said.
However, emerging technologies also present new challenges, such as security and privacy of IoT data with the research finding that only 14 per cent of New Zealand enterprises have deployed an IoT solution to date.
While many trials and proof of concepts are taking place across the country, scaled deployments are rare.
The report said investment is inhibited by a lack of executive understanding, concerns over becoming tied into proprietary systems and the choice and longevity of connectivity solutions and standards.
"The fast moving pace of change in technology drives fear that by the time an organisation brings an IoT product or solution to the market, it could be redundant," the report said.
A lack of clarity over how privacy and security of IoT data should work, including data ownership, accountability and sharing with third parties is also inhibiting progress.
Cisco CTO of IoT and industries Shaun Cooley outlined other challenges at Cisco Live in Las Vegas this week, including managing the rapidly growing number of IoT devices and the data they produce.
Cooley said one second of that projected growth generated eight days of work deploying and configuring devices. Without smart and automated management technologies, IoT would require thousands of extra staff in some organisations.
In addition, he also cited iissues of trust with devices that need to be able to identify themselves on the network, state what they are and what other systems they are going to be communicating with.
Progress is being made, he said. A draft of a structured and trusted framework for such device to network communications called Manufacurer Usage Description (MUD) is now being tested.