Connectivity is key
There are plenty of applications of the IoT that can drive greater value for enterprises, but widespread adoption will depend on the underlying connectivity infrastructure
"Infrastructure is the enabler that allows you to do many other things."
Safder Nazir, Huawei's regional vice president for Smart Cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), doesn't mince his words when describing how the Internet of Things will be built out. However, he adds that the infrastructure alone will not make the IoT a success - what will also matter is, indeed the things that organisations do when they are enabled by the infrastructure.
"Infrastructure and connectivity are allowing us to generate more data points. What do we do with that data? That's where we have big data platforms. How do we utilise that data in, for example, city management, and then allow people to use that data to innovate new things?" he explains.
"People will have new ideas about combining and using different technology today that you and I couldn't possibly dream of. And that is about engaging citizens within the city, and tapping the innovation within people."
Nevertheless, there is an understanding among IT leaders that the infrastructure needs to be put in place before the IoT begins to take shape and see widespread adoption. And, given the mobile nature of many of the ‘things' that are set to be connected, wireless infrastructure is of paramount importance.
Indeed, as industry leaders gathered at the Internet of Things Expo 2015 to discuss the impact of the new mega-trend sweeping the world, Huawei demonstrated how the development of next-generation mobile broadband networks can help transform cities.
As citizens realise the benefits of widespread and fast device connectivity through the IoT, Huawei believes that cities will increasingly rely on mobile broadband as a key enabler of smart city services in many areas; from government to transportation, utilities, education and healthcare.
Huawei exhibited a number of IoT solutions to address real world challenges for everything from connected transportation to energy management and big data applications. Huawei showcased its latest technology development in 4.5G for addressing next-generation IoT applications.
The event also included a small cell briefing, where Huawei discussed factors driving mobile network demand. Speaking at the event, Nazir explored how the Internet of Things is helping to make cities smarter.
"The Internet of Things is the future of our increasingly digitised world and at Huawei we believe that mobile broadband networks are central to driving value creation for consumers, businesses and governments. We see the potential for the Middle East region to lead the way in IoT deployment and hence we are starting to trail our latest Cellular IoT (C-IoT) within the region," he said.
"The region is becoming increasingly city-centric and the cities of the future will need to become more intelligent through connecting and sensing more things that can positively transform the way in which citizens and businesses experience the world."
On the event itself, the first conference dedicated to the IoT in the region, Nazir says that it was an important stepping stone for the Middle East - and for Huawei itself. On the one hand, he believes that it was important for IT users, enterprises, government entities and consumers to have an exhibition that they could visit and learn more about the Internet of Things and what it actually is. On the other, he says that it was important for Huawei to be present at the show to exhibit what it has to offer in this domain.
"This is the first dedicated IoT event within the region, and I think it's very important for us to be here to showcase what is possible. On the one hand, it's to give people who can come down here and have a look round at the different technologies and find out what IoT really means, which is part of the education, and then also what Huawei has to offer in that domain. We've got a good mix here of consumers and end users and government entities and operators as well, so there's everyone you'd probably want to have in one place," he says.
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