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It might be early days for internet of things (IoT) deployments in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region, but experts believe they will have a deep impact on the cloud landscape across the wider Asia-Pacific (Apac) area it is part of.
The IoT is at the heart of mobility, social business, big data analytics and cloud. According to Mayur Sahni, senior research manager cloud and services at IDC Asia-Pacific, internet connectivity underpins this third platform. “Over the past year, IoT developments have been brought to market that use these pillars in different ways,” he said.
The IoT requires intra-cloud, inter-cloud, and cloud-to-device networking, application development, interfaces – including application programming interfaces (APIs) – and management services and resources tailored to various enterprise needs.
“As IoT growth takes place, there will be a need for infrastructure and applications that can leverage cloud architectures and service delivery models,” said Sahni. “So, any organisation with plans to use IoT-based services will be forced to put in place sourcing and IT infrastructure management practices that will deal with the necessary hybrid cloud environment that will deliver services to IoT users.”
According to IDC research, by 2017, IT buyers will actively channel 20% of their IT budgets through industry clouds. Further, the company believes that by 2020, 80% of industry data will pass through an industry cloud at some point in its lifetime, as companies and agencies use cloud-based technologies and infrastructure for data collection, aggregation, analytics, and decision making.
“In Asia, this implies significant opportunity, especially across mining, water supply and sanitation, public safety, and healthcare verticals, with markets including Singapore leading the charge,” Sahni said.
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According to Microsoft Asia-Pacific IoT and advanced analytics product management lead Vasily Malanin, the IoT is at an “inflection point” globally and in the Asia-Pacific region.
This is due to a number of factors, he said: “Affordable hardware price points, pervasive connectivity, simplified development and more. We certainly hope for this to drive innovation, fueling new demands and inspiring IoT in new scenarios.”
Malanin added that increased demand for IoT applications will boost demand for cloud computing in Asia, as the use of on-premise systems will be unlikely to provide the same efficiencies that the cloud offers.
Cost of IoT a major challenge
“One major challenge enterprises face in testing and deploying IoT applications is the cost,” said IDC analyst Charles Reed Andersen.
“Leveraging cloud-based applications and platforms will provide them with a lower-cost option than traditional on-site deployments, and increase their ability to expand IoT applications into more aspects of their business.
“The challenge in Asia is that enterprise cloud adoption is still relatively immature, but those who can effectively leverage cloud applications and platforms for IoT will have the opportunity to gain competitive advantage,” he added.
Frost & Sullivan Apac datacentre and cloud computing analyst Mayank Kapoor said the IoT is having an impact on cloud services in three ways.
Firstly, it is driving a change from a centralised architecture to a distributed architecture for delivering cloud services by introducing edge locations. “This is akin to edge/caching locations for delivering content delivery network services. This will create the need to add new datacentre facilities in more markets to serve the IoT demand,” said Kapoor.
Secondly, he added, the demand for data storage is expected to grow exponentially given that the number of devices generating data will grow exponentially. “While this will create more opportunities for cloud service providers to offer more storage, it will also require them to drive costs lower and improve performance for cloud-based storage solutions.”
Thirdly, said Kapoor, not all devices will be connected to the internet 24/7. So, managing these non-persistent devices will be a challenge in terms of ensuring all data is synchronised and all commands are processed once the device comes online.
“Ultimately, we will see greater collaboration between cloud service providers and cloud-optimised independent software vendors in the region as companies look to develop IoT applications and solutions specific for Asia-Pacific as demand for applications grows,” said Malanin at Microsoft.