Internet of things (IoT) technology has gained significant traction in Southeast Asia (SEA) in recent times, with businesses realising the need for connectivity, especially in a Covid-19-inflicted world. Connected technologies will be able to improve business efficiency, reduce downtime and control costs. With the pandemic affecting businesses and supply chains, and acting as a catalyst for remote working, there has been a surge in the number of IoT deployments in the region, especially by enterprises in the manufacturing, automotive, transportation, energy and utility segments.
Meanwhile, countries in the SEA region are turning to connected solutions enabled by IoT to make business processes as well as cities smarter, safer and more efficient. The increasing government initiatives for smart city projects is one of the major drivers supplementing the growth of the IoT market in Southeast Asia. The governments of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are investing in smart city projects, which focus on five primary domains – smart mobility, smart building and environment, smart industry, smart health and smart governance. These smart cities use IoT devices such as connected sensors, lights and meters to collect and analyse data.
Given the various benefits of the technology, the expenditure on IoT is expected to rise sharply. As per a study by Statista, revenue in the smart home market is projected to be $1,524 million in 2022. Countries such as Thailand and Malaysia are already leading the way and have adopted policy frameworks and strategic roadmaps to enhance IoT adoption. Besides, there is a need for IoT players, including telecom operators, to revisit their existing infrastructure, business models and partnerships to fully capitalise on this surge in connected devices.
A look at the key developments in the IoT market across SEA countries…
IoT technology is central to the country’s Thailand 4.0 initiative and will be instrumental in accelerating the digital transformation of the country. Companies like AIS and True Corporation have rolled out narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology across the country. Applications such as vehicle tracking and smart parking are already at a commercial stage, while those such as smart metering have entered the trial stage.
In a major development, Thailand’s dtac has launched 5G IoT solutions across three core market segments, which include smart factory, smart logistics and smart utilities. Under the purview of smart factory solutions, dtac solution developers can assess existing systems and develop digitalisation plans with IoT capabilities to collect, analyse and monitor data in real time, improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and complement future digital platforms. Meanwhile, smart logistics solutions are expected to transform warehousing and transportation, with IoT and smart sensors providing precise real-time monitoring of goods as they are transported, enabling businesses to track progress and improve security.
In addition, National Telecom, WhiteSpace, Delta Electronics (Thailand) and Chunghwa Telecom have signed an MoU for collaboration on a 5G private network in Thailand. By using the 5G network,
Thailand aims to upgrade IoT to massive IoT and support higher density of connected devices. Moreover, Thailand’s AIS has partnered with ZTE and Suranaree University of Technology to transform manufacturing plants into smart factories.
Telecom and other sectors in the information and communications technology (ICT) domain generated up to 8.2 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP in 2021. Meanwhile, in 2021, a 20 per cent increase in the use of IoT in businesses was reported in Vietnam, reaching 88.67 per cent. As reported by Data&StorageAsean, IT experts of Vietnam believe IoT to be the technology with the greatest development potential at present.
Recently, the VIoT Group of Vietnam entered into a partnership with KerLink to roll out Vietnam’s first nationwide LoRaWAN IoT network, with 350 Kerlink gateways to be deployed in six cities, and 1,400 additional gateways expected by the end of 2022, before covering a further 10 cities in 2023. A nationwide managed IoT network will be marketed for turnkey solutions bringing sensors, connectivity, integration, and applications, such as smart lighting and smart metering, on to a single open IoT platform.
Further, Vingroup, the biggest conglomerate in Vietnam, has reached a deal with Intel to develop 5G technology for a range of industries in the SEA countries. Under the agreement, Vingroup and Intel will work to explore opportunities for 5G-enabled smart solutions. The companies will also work to collaborate on creating and deploying smart factory IoT solutions for battery and electric vehicle manufacturing. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Tepbac has provided a comprehensive suite of software and IoT devices to optimise the aquaculture industry value chains and help shrimp farmers operate their aquaculture in a more sustainable way.
Singapore’s IoT market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by the country’s Smart Nation Project. It lays emphasis on areas such as smart mobility, smart buildings and environment, smart industry, smart healthcare and smart governance, all of which will be enabled by IoT. A robust telecom infrastructure comprising fibre connectivity, data centres and submarine cables, and 5G technology roll-out will further drive the adoption of IoT in the country.
Recently, Singapore’s M1 announced a strategic collaboration with Accenture, aiming to drive 5G growth for enterprises, focusing on the utility and smart estate verticals. As per the terms of the partnership, M1 and Accenture will co-develop best-in-class solutions using 5G, IoT and edge computing to solve industry challenges and support enterprises in their sustainable growth.
Privacy has always been a major concern in the IoT segment. With the use of IoT and associated devices, large amounts of personal data, sometimes sensitive in nature, is exchanged. To this end, Phosphorus, the leading provider of advanced and full-scope security for the extended IoT (xIoT), has announced a new partnership with Singapore’s Tindo to jointly deliver a new generation of xIoT security solutions for Singapore and other SEA countries.
According to ASEAN Briefing, Indonesia’s IoT market is expected to reach $30 billion by 2022, and the sector’s impact will be significant in reducing healthcare costs, enhancing industrial productivity and reducing operational costs for businesses. The real application of IoT will be in sectors that contribute to 50 per cent of Indonesia’s economy, such as the manufacturing sector, agriculture and natural resources.
Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation (Toshiba ESS), through its Indonesian subsidiary engaged in the energy and infrastructure business, Toshiba Asia Pacific Indonesia, has concluded a contract with Indonesia’s PT Geo Dipa Energi (Persero) for an IoT service aimed at improving the utilisation rate of the power generation facilities at its Patuha geothermal power plant. This service uses IoT and artificial intelligence technologies, including predictive failure diagnosis and performance monitoring at the plant.
Meanwhile, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison has signed a partnership agreement with Industri Kereta Api to introduce IoT-based public transportation solutions in Indonesia. The partnership will focus on two projects to welcome the 2022 G20 Summit in Bali. First, the autonomous driving “Tram Mover” project to be operated in Jakarta, and second, an electric bus solution to be deployed during the summit in Bali. Further, Tuya Smart, a leading IoT development platform service provider, and Telkom, Indonesia’s largest telecommunication company, have announced a new partnership using Cube Solution to launch IoT and cloud-based services and products in Indonesia.
Anand Kumar Sah