Internet is continuing its triumphant march across the globe. Across the globe, there has been an ongoing demand for making the internet a basic human right now.

Just a few years ago in Bangladesh, internet usage was limited to a certain group of people -perceived to be at the upper echelon- of society. With the advent of new applications and rich multimedia content, this is no longer the case. Over the years, the Internet has proven its prominence and necessity in health, education, transport, energy, entertainment, finance, and several other sectors of the country.

Nowadays, the internet has further infiltrated our lives through a huge number of devices that can automatically communicate with each other, as they are smart enough to store and send data by themselves.

For instance, a smartwatch can remind you about a meeting, a smart refrigerator can notify you about restocking certain foods, a smart meter can let you monitor your household power usage on your smartphone, and a smart monitoring system can warn you about security threats in your workplace. This revolutionary technology, which connects devices through the internet, has endless possibilities. It is generally referred to as the Internet of Things,” or IoT.

IoT is mostly powered by large-scale communication networks that work in sync with smart devices to gather data from various sensors. These data can be analyzed to understand certain consumer trends and provide exclusive analytics and insights. These facilitate significant value addition for the service providers and enhance their customer satisfaction.

Despite its transformational power, our country is yet to harness the full potential of the IoT. There are many device manufacturers, academicians, and developers in the country working on various IoT endeavors.

However, if everyone is taking a step forward but in different directions, then it sometimes becomes difficult to reach the ultimate goal. So, a holistic IoT ecosystem along with a marketplace has become very necessary to foster the growth of this technology in Bangladesh.

An IoT marketplace will assist IoT device manufacturers and suppliers in bringing their products to application developers, who can then design software that will be compatible with such devices manufactured by multiple vendors. Moreover, an open IoT platform will allow healthy competition among the developers to find the best solution for- a given requirement. Consequently, consumers will be gifted with high-quality applications that can serve their needs.

The same is true on the device side as well, where multiple vendors will compete with each other to bring down the best product at the optimum price in the market. These will, consequently, stimulate IoT adoption.

Communication service providers, especially telecom operators, can play a leading role in developing such a marketplace. The network connectivity provided by the telcos can be the catalyst for bringing together device manufacturers and software developers towards a common IoT platform. Besides, with the availability of fast internet services, a significant portion of the customer base is switching towards Over-The-Top (OTT) content services to cover all their communication needs. From a business perspective, it has become a major concern for future revenue generation for communication service providers. Accommodating up-to-date 7 weather forecasts, power usage, and remote monitoring can be a matter of click-by-dot IoT.

On the other hand, telecommunication service providers can collaborate with government and private entities across a varied domain, ranging from the agriculture industry to the health sector, from the automotive industry to the education sector, to provide end-to-end solutions for their IoT needs. These user entities can also utilize the physical and digital infrastructures of the telcos to gather, store, and analyze the massive data generated from their smart devices. Such integration of IoT can provide telcos with a competitive edge in the market.

To achieve effective integration of the IoT, some challenges need to be addressed. The first hurdle is to popularize the idea. History has shown us that without enough momentum, even good technologies fail to come to fruition. Raising awareness and engagement about the IoT can greatly expedite its adoption. The government can play a vital role in this regard by formulating a national policy; that will encourage the entire ecosystem of players; such as start-ups, freelancers, and students, to focus their time and energy on a revolutionary technology like the IoT. This will drive innovation, create new opportunities, and ultimately help implement the country’s digital vision.

Additionally, to encourage more research and innovation around IoT, meaningful industry-academia collaboration is needed, with proper funding and resource engagement from both ends. These will create many IoT enthusiasts, who will be capable of making a difference with their innovative and commercially viable IoT applications and services.

With its massive prospect, the Internet of Things (IoT) can play a huge role in accelerating Bangladesh’s progressive journey. So it is high time that all concerned parties step forward and work together to achieve the IoT potential of the country.

Author: Oatima Siraj


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