By: Mahmud Awad, Chief Business Officer, Vodafone Qatar
Over the past few years, the Internet of Things, also known as IoT, has been described as a fundamental game-changer for the world of business. The consultancy Bain predicts that the combined markets of the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow to about $520B in 2021, opening doorways to a vast array of opportunities for businesses – from start-ups to major corporations.
In simple terms, IoT is the concept of connecting devices to the Internet. It extends beyond smartphones and computers to include household devices such as fridges and light switches, as well as manufacturing machinery, farm equipment and security solutions. It is this vast exchange of data across multiple platforms that makes IoT so powerful, impactful and relevant, with the potential to power the smart cities of the future and enhance quality of life for all. Gartner predicts that by 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices worldwide, giving us a fascinating look at what life could look like in the future.
With this in mind, IoT is set to have an immense impact on how businesses design, produce and deliver their products and services. Firstly, IoT solutions can help businesses digitise and optimise their operations – for example enabling manufacturers to integrate plant processes, achieve higher levels of productivity and enhance product quality by ensuring adherence to product specifications. Every step of the production process can be tracked, providing manufacturers with real-time data to enable them to make the most appropriate and fitting decisions, helping to cut costs and increase efficiencies. Secondly, the access to this vast pool of data provides businesses with new insights that enable innovation and new revenue opportunities. Thirdly, for organisations with a large inventory of assets, IoT solutions such as Asset Tracking and Fleet Management can provide important information about the location, status and efficiency of equipment. This enables businesses to ensure the security of their assets and optimise how they are used and deployed to help maximise return on investment.
In Qatar, building a strong and diversified economy is at the core of the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030. As such, leveraging the power of technologies such as IoT will be vital in building a knowledge-based economy that is characterised by innovation, entrepreneurship and competitiveness.
This is a vision that we at Vodafone are fully committed to. In fact, a recent example that we are proud of is our work with Shafallah Center for Persons with Disability. In 2018, we equipped all 60 Shafallah buses with Vodafone’s Smart Bus solution including our IoT Fleet Management solution and Video Surveillance, to help make the children’s journeys safer and more efficient. The Smart Bus Solution tracks the buses’ locations, driver behaviour and provides real-time traffic data and navigation for shorter journeys. The tracking portal can be accessed by the Shafallah Center remotely over the internet.
We’re committed to accelerating Qatar’s journey towards becoming one of the most digitally connected and smart countries in the world. From setting up world class digital infrastructure enhanced by 5G and fibre connections to bringing tailor-made innovations to fit the needs of businesses in the country, our commitment to the national vision is strong and we look forward to leading the way in this exciting mission.