With Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly gaining ground, governments need to devise a full-fledged policy framework in order to take these technology advancements to the everyday life of citizens.
According to KPMG, an IoT policy should encompass a multi-pronged approach to not only promote innovation, but also subscribe to the tenets of standards, regulations and governance. In its latest report on ‘Internet of Things in Smart Cities,’ KPMG noted that a full-fledged policy is one where the framework allows setting up centres of excellence to develop and demonstrate industry use cases utilizing various technologies for promotion of IoT across domains like connected cities, water management, environmental regulations.
Globally, countries have started to understand the importance of a framework to promote IoT with some even starting developing strategies to support technologies like IoT. For instance, way back in 2010, China committed $117 million to open a national center devoted to IoT research and development. A year later, it followed up with a five-year plan for the development of IoT. Subsequently, in 2013, it started programmes with focus on smart utilities and transportation besides initiating a national policy on IoT.
South Korea has pledged $5 billion investments in IoT till 2020, while Singapore allocated $1.6 billion in 2015 for its Smart Nation initiative focusing on large-scale arrangements of smart city applications. In fact, Singapore was one of the early adopters having made a beginning way back in 2005 when it chalked out a 10-year plan to support ICT industry, develop and deploy sensor networks and connectivity.
In line with its Asian peers, Indian government first prepared a draft IoT policy framework in 2015 and its implementation gained impetus through two major initiatives -- Smart Cities and Digital India. Its key objectives were to create IoT industry worth $15 billion by 2020, R&D, skill development and capacity building, development of IoT products specific to domestic needs and network standards and domain-specific standards to support the Smart Nation initiative and private-sector deployment of the technology.
But it appears that the framework needs to be further honed. According to KPMG, a full-fledged policy framework will promote incubation centres to aid capacity building through availability of hardware design tools, wireless development kits, application sensors, software tools etc allowing research funding, test labs, international collaborations, participation in international committees and events. It should assist human resource development, framework to certify all aspects of IoT usage will require the development of the implementation of relevant standards related to technology, process, interoperability and services. Creation of expert committee for development and adoption of IoT standards in the country.
According to KPMG, a framework for managing and monitoring deployment, usage and legal aspects of IoT should be complemented by an advisory committee to ensure compliance to standards and keeping pace with technological advancements and a governance committee to ensure legal, regulatory and trade compliances.
The intent of making cities IoT-enabled isn’t about connecting things and services, rather it’s a means to achieve a collaborative and participative community. “The success of IoT will depend not only on technology factors but largely on human and societal factors including user-centric focus, secure and robust solutions, ease of use and user experience,” it said adding that ability to sustain either through city funds or revenue generation model is crucial for continuity.
Cities can drive IoT initiatives as its potential benefits create incentives. However, for the initiatives to be a success, steps have to be taken to accrue the benefits of a fully connected world, KPMG noted adding that it require substantial support from the government in the form of comprehensive policies to aid and support development and widespread adoption of technology.