Visitors during the Internet of Things conference at the Armani Hotel Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News


The year will see more lighthouse sites or future showcases for a range of industrial internet of things (IIoT) solutions, said a Digital McKinsey expert on Tuesday.

Lighthouse means a real site that undergoes a recent transformation applying fourth industrial revolution technology.

Speaking on the sidelines of the fifth edition of the ‘Internet of Things 2018’ held in Dubai on Tuesday, Enno de Boer, partner at Digital McKinsey, told Gulf News that the region will see a dozen or more lighthouse sites. A community of tri-sector leaders is driving the set-up of the platform.

“We want to create a network of those as ... sites. Currently, there are 40 innovation cases and the region has good scope to have lighthouse sites in every sector, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Moreover, he said that many industrial firms are on the journey to integrate digital and production to drive progress, but capturing its real value differs significantly.

Christos Sermpetis, partner at Digital McKinsey, said that three major technology innovations are happening right now and they are data and connectivity; artificial intelligence and flexible automation.

When you look at data and connectivity, he said it is exponentially expanding.

“90 per cent of the data has been created in the past two years, 12 per cent of global trade is via e-commerce and this is going to increase to 20 per cent by 2025, and 8.4 billion connected devices worldwide today,” he said.

With today’s technology, he said that 60 per cent of all tasks in manufacturing sectors can be automated. There is an opportunity not to displace jobs but to enhance jobs by innovation.

Even though the power of connected things is real and promises tremendous productivity and gains, Boer said cybersecurity is a challenge and needs to be addressed.

“A lot of tech companies are investing heavily into that [cybersecurity] to make sure these kind of technologies are secure. We see that these new technologies, all though it feels that due to higher connectivity it is prone to more cyber-attacks but it is much more secure than the legacy equipment that has not been prepared for all cyberattacks,” he said.

The internet of Things industry is fragmented and there are more than 700 platforms, he said.

“However, we will see a consolidation but there are only a few hyper-scalable platforms right now. These are Microsoft, Google, Amazon Web Services and on top of that, there are a couple of key players that have much more enabling environments that allow building apps on their platform.

A lot of companies are piloting with two or three platforms to figure out which one is the best for them,” he said.

With the emerging technologies, he said the workplace gets improved, cleaner, safer and productivity gets an exponential boost.

According to research firm International Data Corporation, the IoT market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to grow 15 per cent this year to $6.99 billion (Dh25,67 billion) compared to $6.07 billion last year as automation gains traction.

“The world is changing and we are moving at a phenomenal pace of technology. We have seen huge strides in the last 10 to 15 years,” said Steve Dunbar, IoT commercial director, Microsoft MEA.

Quoting reports, he said that the global market for IoT is worth $1.7 trillion by 2020 and 30 billion connected things by 2020, but 70 per cent of the value enabled by IoT will come from business to business scenarios.

“The cost of storing or connecting data, cost of transmitting data, cost of technology and ability to innovate are all dropping, and all these are driving the IoT factor,” he said.

According to a recent survey, an average person has seven networked devices and 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created per day. Today, he said that people create more data per day than their grandparents did in their whole life.

Defining Internet of Things:


Network-connected devices by 2020


Average increase in operating income for digitally transformed enterprises


Data on earth will come from IoT by 2020


Market value for business process automation tools by 2020

Source: Microsoft