The IoT market is expected to grow to 75 billion connected devices by 2025, according to Statista, and much of that growth will taking place in Asia-Pacific, according to industry analysts.
There are currently 23.2 billion connected IoT devices, which is expected to grow to 30 billion by 2020. The value of the IoT sector is forecast to hit $1.1 trillion globally by 2025, according to the crystal ball gazers.
With the European and North American markets being somewhat saturated with connected devices of every shape and size -- the average UK consumer had 3.5 connected devices in 2017 -- much of this growth will likely happen in Asia-Pacific. The five major IoT sectors -- consumer, construction, healthcare providers, telecommunications and insurance -- are all expected to grow in the Asia-Pacific market by more than 10% by 2022, with the consumer space leading the way with a 22.4% five-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), according to research house IDC.
IoT is making our homes smart, but there's still a long way to go, especially in Asia, where IoT penetration is low amongst consumers. (Image: Thomas Kolnowski, Unsplash)
When we think of the technology industry in Asia-Pacific, we typically think of the large and high-profile markets of China, India, Japan and South Korea. However, Boon Wee Phua, engineering director at TechnipFMC in Singapore, told TechX365 recently that other countries hold great potential for IoT growth, including "Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, which are not as well-connected from an IoT standpoint just yet, but have a huge young population ever-hungry for more information."
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world (after China, India and the US), yet under half of its population is online. The country has 266 million residents, but only around 120 million are online and the IoT sector is very immature, according to Statista's estimates, so there is plenty of opportunity for growth. About 60% of Indonesia's adult population uses a smartphone, according to HootSuite, but only 2% have a device for streaming content to a TV set, and only 1% have a wearable tech device, such as a fitness tracker.
Indeed, Boon Wee Phua noted, "Just imagine if we can connect everyone up in Asia!" Arguably, this has already happened in many Western countries, but in less developed nations such as the Philippines, Thailand or Myanmar, improving digital connectivity could help impact society by improving job prospects and helping to tackle poverty, ensuring more open elections and even reducing government corruption. It could also encourage local technology innovation in areas such as AI, IoT and blockchain, so enabling such countries to break free from the technological and cultural stranglehold of the West.
Similarly, AI in Asia has taken a huge step forward in the past year. TechX365 reported recently that China's AI startups have overtaken the US's in terms of venture capital raised in 2017. This will boost the Chinese tech industry to new heights and provide new confidence for country's government as it looks to make China the world's leading AI hub by 2030. In an article for AI Business, emerging trends analyst Mike Ghasemi said that Asia-Pacific's AI sector is "estimated at around US$450 million in 2017 and is expected to grow at CAGR of 46.9% by 2022," which is greater than the global AI 2018-2022 CAGR of 45% -- so clearly lots of opportunities for AI in Asia Pacific, both in the consumer market and in industry. (See China's AI Startups Raised Almost $5B in 2017, Overtaking US Competitors.)
As many others have repeated during the past few years, digital transformation is everyone's responsibility; in the words of Boon Wee Phua, it is a "continuous journey for everyone, regardless of job function." In Asia -- a vastly different industrial market than the likes of the US or Europe -- digital transformation still has a long way to go, and most of that growth will take place in emerging markets. But it's up to everyone, not just the developers or the techies: for a company, a region, a country or an entire continent to "go digital," everyone needs to play their part.