Vodafone IoT Country Manager
'Without the Internet of Things, Digital Transformation is not possible'
Vodafone’s country manager for internet of things (IoT) Debbie Power believes in the positive impact of automation and says that 5G, machine to machine (M2M) and narrow band internet of things (NB-IoT) will be pivotal to Ireland’s industrial future.
In recent weeks Vodafone published its annual IoT Barometer, which found that more than a third (34pc) of businesses now use IoT. 70pc of these adopters have moved beyond pilot stage and 95pc of adopters are seeing the benefits of investment in this technology as it moves into the mainstream.
According to recent ComReg quarterly figures, in Q4 2018 Vodafone Group had the largest market share of M2M subscriptions in Ireland at 50.7pc.
Q: What does the IoT Barometer tell us about how the technology is being adopted by mainstream businesses?
A: For me it is very positive that 34pc of the surveyed people have adopted IoT. It is obviously going in the right direction. It was not surprising that the biggest uptake was transport which traditionally would also be the biggest user of M2M.
I think the most interesting one for me was that stat around 8pc of businesses dependent on using IoT. What they are saying is that if IoT wasn’t part of their business, there would be no business.
Q: That suggests the opposite to what people are saying in terms of the idea that automation is taking jobs.
A: I agree. It is a different time. It is a different evolution or revolution, and I think the jobs we will be looking at tomorrow have not even been thought of today, and that will all come from technologies like AI and augmented reality. I wouldn’t look at automation in a negative way, I look at it as a positive thing.
Q: How is IoT feeding into the narrative around digital transformation?
A: The barometer has a stat that says 72pc of adopters said that without IoT, digital transformation is not possible. That is very essential. We talk about digital transformation but people don’t think IoT and digital transformation are on the same page, but it is interesting that people are saying it wouldn’t be possible.
If you look at Gartner Magic Quadrant for managed M2M services, we are in the top right-hand corner globally based on our vision and execution of strategy, and that is down to Vodafone and our interest and our early adoption. Ireland was the first country to get a cross-country coverage in terms of NB-IoT. Everywhere we have 4G we have NB-IoT, and that allows my team to make sure customers can learn how to utilise that to transform their businesses.
Q: What are your thoughts on 5G and how that will impact digital transformation?
A: 5G will be different and more so than the evolution of 3G to 4G and it will lend itself to new applications. 5G will be a game-changer for industry and for the country in terms of how we will live and work.
I think that IoT will be one of the early use-case applications for 5G. In relation to the 5G accelerator programme we are working on with Ericsson and NovaUCD and we are looking forward to working with companies who will bring their ideas forward and see how we will develop those. We are particularly interested in working with start-ups and SMEs to develop that roadmap to see what evolves.
This blog post is an edited version of an interview that appeared on Silicon Republic.