Engineers under the aegis of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) have called for massive investment in Internet of Things (IoTs) technology infrastructure in the country to boost socio-economic development.
With expected $55.7 billion investment by 2025 and $11 trillion worth of investment for IoTs by 2030, they noted that IoTs allow firms to automate processes, save money on labour, reduce waste and improve service delivery, hence the need for developing economies like Nigeria to commit more funding support for the sector.
The IoTs is the network of smart connected devices, with each device that includes sensors, which collect data, interact with the environment and communicate over a network.The experts also urged synergy between the industry and the academia in developing skills needed to grow the IoT industry.
They spoke at a webinar on, ‘Emerging knowledge and development on internet of things’ organised by the NAE in Lagos.
Leading the call, the Principal Partner, Defax Consulting Services Ltd, Opeyemi Olaniran said it is the early days for IoT in developing economies, stressing that as Nigeria repositions to drive non-oil exports, it must consider how to leverage technologies like IoT across sectors.He explained that technology would play a vital role in nation building and called for regulation, industry, public sector, academia and the startup community to work together in achieving the national aspirations.
According to him, the right way to start deploying IoTs is by securely connecting devices and assets in existence, utilising services and the cloud to jump-start efforts, combine the data and generate new insights to create new business value.
He said IoT has become useful in varied aspects of life, in particular to limit agriculture food wastages as the report indicates that one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tonnes yearly.
Other use cases of IoT, he said are connected health devices, smart homes and cities, transport and public safety, energy monitoring, telemedicine, industrial and enterprise, contactless payment, oil pipelines and smart lighting.
He said the sector offers new career opportunities such as software engineers, cloud computing engineers, data scientists, data analytics and visualisation, adding that the sensor industry will also grow exponentially.
“IoTs help to gain insight and agility, build competitive edge, open new business opportunities and redefine customer service while industrial IoT reduces waste, increase efficiency. IOT will play a vital role in sustainability, decarbonisation, air quality, energy management, and responsible consumption of natural resources, emission monitoring and flood warning systems. IoT becomes more powerful when combined with other technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML),” Olaniran said.
To him, as IoT connections increase, there will be a continuous rise in data collected; expected exponential data growth will be in industrial, climate, security and safety use cases.
“5G will further accelerate the adoption of IoT, speed, latency, increased bandwidth. IoT is all about availability of wide range of sensor from visual, vibration, temperature, weight to acoustic while anything operational can be measured by sensors, no sensors, no IoT,” he said
Speaking on 5G network and its roll out, Senior Manager, MTN South Africa, Ms Ayedime Amadi said the major challenges is investment in massive infrastructure and modernising the network, which it required to work. “lf you look at some of the Telecoms we have today, some of the investments they put in 2G needs incremental investment to enable 4G. But the spectrum for 5G is different and you also need to make investments in modernising your networks in terms of more software based investments rather than appliances for speed and agility. When 5G is fully rolled out, there will be a need to incorporate the disposable income of people and other market propositions will have to be considered. “
Earlier, in a remark, the President of the academy, Alex Ogedegbe and chairman Information Communication Technology (ICT) committee of the NAE, Ernest Ndukwe observed that the ICT industry is moving at neck-breaking speed across the world and it is important that members continue to update themselves on emerging trends in the industry.