How and why businesses need to capitalise on the rise of the Internet of Things
Businesses need to understand the Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential value or risk lagging behind their competitors as the IoT takes off, according to Thinxtra.
Renald Gallis, Director, Thinxtra, said, “The IoT isn’t just hype: IHS forecasts that the market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 30.7 billion devices in 2020 and 75.4 billion in 2025. In dollar terms, McKinsey says that could mean an economic impact in the trillions of dollars by 2025. This means businesses need to get on board now to avoid missing out on the potential benefits.”
Thinxtra has identified three steps for businesses looking to leverage IoT for improved competitiveness:
1. Create a C-level IoT strategist
Businesses should either appoint a new C-level position to identify and oversee new digital business opportunities, or they should add these responsibilities to an existing role. A chief IoT officer can develop the business’s strategy for maximising the value of IoT from a sales perspective or as a data analysis opportunity.
The C-level executive will likely require a team with strong knowledge of the digital landscape.
Renald Gallis said, “Executive teams need to know who their new and potential digital competitors are. They will also need to know how they are going to cooperate with others in their industry to anticipate and adapt to digital disruption, as well as knowing the short- and long-term steps the organisation must take to ensure a smooth and timely digital transformation.”
2. Design and execute a plan for investing in IoT technologies and skills
The IoT team needs to create and follow a strategic plan that dictates how the company invests in IoT technologies and skills. The team may need to reallocate resources across the business, invest in data collection and analysis, and identify the talent and skills gaps that must be filled to fully leverage IoT opportunities.
Renald Gallis said, “Increasing investment in people and the new skills required today should be the first order of business for all organisations. Furthermore, organisations need to understand the potential for the IoT so they can direct resources appropriately for the longer term.”
3. Expand user experience expertise and capabilities
Organisations need to integrate and/or expand their user experience expertise and capabilities to exploit the move to an IoT-enabled infrastructure.
Renald Gallis said, “Organisations can start by trialling and exploring diverse, small-scale solutions to see what provides the most business insight and value, only collecting and analysing the most relevant data. Choosing the right data, generated by the right sensors, will give organisations the best chance of successfully leveraging the IoT for significant business improvement.”
Why Alibaba Cloud is doubling down in Southeast Asia
Alibaba has announced expansion of its cloud business within Southeast Asia, with the introduction of a digital upskilling programme for locals alongside acceleration of its data centre openings.
This doubling down of its cloud business in Southeast Asia comes as the company faces stiff competition at home in China from rivals including Pinduoduo Inc and Tencent and seeks to up its game in a region considered to be the fastest-growing in cloud adoption to compete with leading global cloud providers AWS, Google and Microsoft.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and second biggest revenue driver after its core e-commerce business, finally turned profitable for the first time in the December 2020 following 11 years of operation, thanks largely to the pandemic which has spurred businesses and consumers to get online.
Southeast Asia growing demand for cloud
In 2020, there was a noticeable increase in interest towards cloud in SE Asia, with the population embracing digital transformation during the pandemic and SMEs across the region showing increased demand for cloud computing.
Such demand has led to the expectation that Southeast Asia is now the fastest-growing adopter of cloud computing with the cloud market expected to reach US$40.32bn in Southeast Asia by 2025 according to IDC.
And there are plenty of players vying for a slice of the cloud pie. While AWS, the cloud arm of Amazon, is the leading player in Southeast Asia (and across all of APAC apart from China), Microsoft and Google are the next two most dominant players in Southeast Asia with Alibaba coming in fourth.
“There is no doubt that during the past year we have seen the acceleration of digital transformation efforts across all industries,” explains Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia. “Asia now accounts for 60% of the world’s growth and is leading the global recovery with the digitalization of business models and economies. Cloud will continue to be a core foundation empowering the realization of Asia’s ambitions, enabling co-innovation across industries, government and community, to drive inclusive societal progress.”
Alibaba’s commitment to Southeast Asia
At its annual Alibaba Cloud Summit, the Chinese company announced Project AsiaForward, an initiative designed to upskill local developers, small-to-medium-sized companies and connect businesses with venture capital. Alibaba said it would set aside US$1bn over the next three years to develop digital skills in the region, with the aim of helping to develop 100,000 developers and to help grow 100,000 tech startups.
But that’s not all. The company, which recently opened its third data centre in Indonesia, serving customers with offerings across database, security, network, machine learning and data analytics services, also announced it would unveil its first data centre in the Philippines by the end of 2021.
Furthermore, that it would establish its first international innovation centre, located in Malaysia, offering a one-stop shop platform for Malaysian SMEs, startups and developers to innovate in emerging technologies.
“We are seeing a strong demand for cloud-native technologies in emerging verticals across the region, from e-commerce and logistics platforms to FinTech and online entertainment. As the leading cloud service provider and trusted partner in APAC, we are committed to bettering the region’s cloud ecosystem and enhancing its digital infrastructure,” says Jeff Zhang, President, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.
What other cloud providers are pledging in the region
This pledge by Alibaba to upskill both individuals and businesses follows Microsoft’s announcement in April that it was planning to upskill Malaysia’s population and would invest US$1bn over the next five years to build a new data centre centre in Malaysia.
This is the latest in a long line of pledges to the region by the US tech giant, which is fast accelerating the growth of its cloud datacenter footprint in Asia, expanding form seven 11 markets, and recently adding three new markets across Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan. Back in February, it announced plans to establish its first datacenter region in Indonesia and to skill an additional 3 million Indonesians to achieve its goal of empowering over 24 million Indonesians by the end of 2021.
And recent research by IDC shows that Microsoft’s most recent datacenter expansions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan alone are set to generate more than US$21bn in new revenues and will create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years.
Also last month, Tencent announced it has launched internet data centres in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo to add to its second availability zone opened in Korea last year and plans to add an internet data center in Indonesia, and Google has also been pushing into the enterprise space in Southeast Asia for several years now.
Expanding data centers allows cloud providers to boost their capacity in certain countries or regions.