IoT Alliance report calls on Government to ‘catalyse’ IoT uptake

The New Zealand IoT Alliance has released a study into IoT in New Zealand saying the application of IoT could bring benefits worth billions of dollars to the New Zealand Economy and that the Government should take a lead role as the catalyst for change.

The report identifies nine common IoT applications that, it says, could alone have a potential net benefit over 10 years could be $2.2 billion in present value terms.

The 92-page report was commissioned by the New Zealand IoT Alliance, a group of tech firms, major corporates, startups, universities and government agencies that was launched at the end of March.

Alliance chair and NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller said that, prior to release of the report, that there had been little research into the true potential of IoT in New Zealand.

He called on the Government to “ensure there are no unnecessary barriers deterring universities from undertaking research into IoT or preventing the IoT sector from accessing current research and development funding mechanisms.”

The report Accelerating a Connected New Zealand: an Analysis of the Impact of the Internet of Things on the New Zealand Economy looks at the current state of and opportunities for IoT in New Zealand. It concludes with a section on Accelerating a Connected New Zealand, that identifies a key role for Government as  “the catalyst for change,” saying greater awareness, education and knowledge are required to take full advantage of IoT.

“Ultimately, our research participants agreed that the Government's role is not to provide infrastructure or set standards, but to act as a catalyst in raising awareness that will lead to investment. … While many of the IoT technology and standards uncertainties will play themselves out in the market, the government can drive investment with IoT strategy, framework and policy.

“A clear Government position on IoT will help New Zealand to deploy cohesive and unified smart city initiatives across the country. Government investment in flagship IoT initiatives will also accelerate New Zealand's transition into a Digital Nation and propel New Zealand’s productivity.”

Communications minister Simon Bridges welcomed release of the report but offered no comment on its conclusions. He said: “The Government has a key role to play in ensuring that New Zealand can take advantage of what IoT has to offer…” However he continued: “…through our programme of work to improve access to faster broadband for all New Zealanders.”

Bridges said he “look[ed] forward to continuing to work with the IoT Alliance to explore the challenges and benefits of this emerging technology, to ensure we get the best outcomes for New Zealanders.”

Muller said the study had been designed to provide a stocktake of the current ecosystem of IoT in New Zealand, an economic analysis of the potential impact to the economy of the deployment of IoT in various applications and identification of opportunities and risk.

“The primary objective is to identify opportunities for economic growth through clever use of the Internet of Things,” he said. “The report found New Zealand ranked highly as a nation in terms of IoT readiness yet a lack of understanding of the economic value appears to be holding back investment.

“The economic value that accelerated uptake of IoT could bring is substantial for the New Zealand economy. There are many ways to stimulate the uptake of IoT with most stemming from an increased awareness of the potential value that IoT can bring.”

He added: “The key inhibitor for IoT uptake in New Zealand is a lack of understanding, knowledge and skill. This is not a technical issue, it is an education and awareness issue. To increase IoT uptake we need to look at issues such as reducing market fragmentation and for discussions to move away from technology to solving business problems.”

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