A report by EMC and IDC estimates that the digital universe in India is doubling every two years and is expected to grow nine fold between 2013 and 2020 – from 326 exabytes to 2.8 zetabytes. Currently, data created by an average Indian household is equivalent to 65 32GB versions of iPhones. By 2020, this is expected to grow to 318, taking India’s share in the digital universe from 3 per cent to 6 per cent.
Key components driving this growth include proliferation of wireless technologies and internet consumption, rise of digital TV and growth of 'sensors' based machine to machine (M2M) communication or what we also define as Internet of Things (IoT). The evolution of IoT, which is expected to account for around 10 per cent of all data generated from India’s digital universe in 2020, is particularly notable. IoT provides massive opportunities for business in five core areas – development of new value creating business models; real time information on products and processes for faster response times; diversification of revenue streams; global visibility across the supply chain and efficient and intelligent decision making in areas like pricing, logistics and sales and support deployment.
A number of far reaching development outcomes can be envisioned for India, which have been highlighted in a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Smart transportation systems can greatly reduce traffic congestion by identification of bottlenecks and intelligent rerouting. Smart metering in water, electricity and gas usage can greatly improve monitoring of consumption, losses and frauds. Sensors that allow two way communications on the power grid can greatly enhance the ability of utilities to address rapidly changing power demand. Smart buildings managed remotely through a centralised system can greatly reduce energy consumption. In agriculture, opportunities are being explored in remote pump control, weather monitoring and management of the food supply chain. Similarly in healthcare, M2M initiatives are targeted at better management of the work of healthcare professionals in remote areas, tracking the location and condition of medicines and equipment and remote patient monitoring.
These applications are just the tip of the iceberg as IoT promises a far reaching impact on how India progresses on its development goals and also on businesses and consumers. And considering the pace at which technology is advancing, these changes may be visible much earlier than expected.