When I was writing down my thoughts on this topic, a friend came in and on looking at my screen asked “What is IoT”, I replied “Internet of Things”. He said “You mean everything having internet”, I smiled and answered “Yes”. He went further to define Internet of Things (IoT) as everything that has internet.
What is IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.
“Things” in the IoT sense, can refer to a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, bio-chip transponders on farm animals, automobiles with built-in sensors, DNA analysis devices for environmental/food/pathogen monitoring or field operation devices that assist fire-fighters in search and rescue operations.
These devices collect useful data with the help of various existing technologies and then autonomously flow the data between other devices.
Uses of IoT
There are several uses of IoT, some which I may not be able to exhaust here. Below are a few examples;
- A refrigerator that sends you push notifications as a reminder to stock it up when it’s empty, or your house that alerts you about its state even when you are miles away.
- A smart pen that feeds your animals on interval and tells you when they are low on food supplies.
- Sensors on a cow that makes it possible to track its movements, etc.
In 2008 the number of “Things” connected to the internet was greater than the people living on earth and In 2020 the number of things connected to the internet will be about 50 billion.
McKinsey Global Institute research estimates that the impact of the Internet of Things on the global economy might be as high as $6.2 trillion by 2025.
- In total, there is a forecast that about 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.
- Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years.
- Businesses will be the top adopter of IoT solutions. They see three ways the IoT can improve their bottom line by:
- Lowering operating costs
- Increasing productivity; and
- Expanding to new markets or developing new product offerings.
- Governments are focused on increasing productivity, decreasing costs, and improving their citizens’ quality of life. We forecast they will be the second-largest adopters of IoT ecosystems.
- Consumers will lag behind businesses and governments in IoT adoption. Still, they will purchase a massive number of devices and invest a significant amount of money in IoT ecosystems.
Limitations of IoT
Experts have argued that there are several limitations to maximizing the full potentials/opportunities of IoT. Some of these challenges range from Technology, political manipulation, security, privacy to Environmental factors. But in our clime the biggest limitation here is the RIGHT SKILL SET.
Unfortunately, the current skills crisis in Nigeria and Africa marks only the beginning of a much longer-term trend and the talent challenge is restraining business growth.
First what skills are needed for IoT
IoT isn’t science function anymore. It’s a viable business opportunity, with an estimated 43% of organization projected to implant IoT products and strategies by the end of 2016. The skills needed for IoT are;
- Embedded systems
- Machine Learning
- Big Data
- Mobile Technology
- Cloud computing and NoSQL experts will be key to heading and organizing IoT data in the cloud.
- Network security experts and IT infrastructure architects will be crucial in identifying IoT band vulnerabilities and upgrade IoT ecosystem.
- Rapid prototype of IoT devices needs 3D animation and modeling skills
- Software engineering/Programmimg skills
So how do we close the skill gap?
In providing the next generation of smart candidates, it is with inventing in institutes of education. With the right guidance and curriculum, students are able to build exceptional technology skills. Government and business can often team up to prepare for the future of innovation by launching educational programs relating to IT.
I will at this point now refer back to the recommendations on “How to fix computer science in Nigeria”
- First and foremost, we have to overhaul our entire Computer Science curriculum. It is definitely not working, we just have to drop it and do a 360.
- This is a long shot, but we can start with a photocopy of Computer Science curriculum from the best schools around; IIT India, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, etc.
- If we are serious about competing globally, we just have to go for the best. No shortcuts.
- Every Computer Science department should have a working and well maintained Internet service. The libraries must be updated too.
- Exchange programme between Computer Science lecturers and some of the best schools around the world; MIT, IIT, Standford, Caltech, CMU, Berkeley, etc.
- While the exchange programme effort is ongoing, the government should reach out to the private tech companies and seek assistance.
- These tech companies could send some of their brightest engineers with a passion for teaching to go back to the classroom.
- Nothing beats having an industry practitioner coming back to the classroom.
- Some of the finest Computer Science lecturers at CMU and co. are staff engineers at Google, Uber, etc.
- Create an experimenting learning center where students that can find suitable infrastructure for their IoT projects
Dimgba Kalu, a graduate of Computer Science. I am an internet and technology entrepreneur an ardent lover of codes. Interested in UI/UX, mobile technology, startups and technology for development.