LIFE IS A HIGHWAY

Colombia 2015 | TELECOMS & IT | FOCUS: INTERNET OF THINGS

During times of unpredictable fluctuations in commodity and energy prices in Latin America and the world's emerging markets, awareness is growing about the potential of the ongoing technological revolution known as the Internet of Things (IoT), or most recently, the Internet of Everything (IoE), as a clear pathway to future development and gains in efficiency.

A recent report published by Accenture in 2015 emphasized the potential of the Industrial internet of things (IIoT). The report anticipates potential gains to be approximately $14.2 trillion by 2030. The IIoT typically links devices in the field with data centers that can analyze, monitor the efficiency of, and respond to the data received, thus creating more efficient business models.

Colombia has long been home to some of the world's most innovative cities, with Medellín being ranked the world´s most innovative city in 2013 in a competition sponsored by the Wall Street Journal and City Banking Group. Companies such as CISCO and BT have introduced a range of new technologies and services that make Colombian cities and their industrial processes even smarter, particularly in public services. “Today we have a system whereby sensors in garbage containers connected to a Cloud 24 hours every day, can monitor how empty trash is, and allocute garbage trucks effectively,” explains Cisco Country Manager Christian Onetto.
Having witnessed the Internet of Things evolve into the Internet of Everything, companies such as CISCO and BT are positioning themselves for what they consider to be the second phase of creating this ecosystem, in which the health, education, transport, social security, public services, and justice are all connected by devices, people, and shared data.

The potential for this technology to cut public sector costs is enormous. Colombia's health center has seen outstanding initiatives in tele-medicine and seminars that allow doctors to diagnose patients remotely. Colombia already has 1,100 municipalities connected to the network. Further technology offered by Cisco is designed for cases of transitional justice cost management. Following a pilot scheme in Mexico, Cisco Colombia have introduced a system that allows court trials to be carried out remotely, eliminating the costs of relocation, body guards, and danger of reprisal, and is is expected to play a crucial role in Colombia's transitional justice system.

Accenture's report emphasizes that the challenge with such systems is facilitating private and public sector adoption of technologies, and ensuring cooperation. In their efforts to bring this technology to the public, CISCO created their first customer experience room to demonstrate their technology and connectivity solutions to the local business community.

According to Onetto, “only 1% of activities are currently connected to the internet, and that means we still have 99% to connect.” In Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America the main obstacles for the expansion of the IoE are poor access to technology, information failures, and most crucially, a relatively weak telecommunications infrastructure—Colombia is a step ahead in this regard.

At the end of 2014 the Agencia Nacional del Espectro (ANE) announced the need for a “highway” of telecommunications and data that will be required to boost the Internet of Everything (IOE). The report indicates how the inevitable boom caused by the IoE will lead to 12 times the data traffic by 2018. This represents a major challenge for operators who must augment their infrastructure, though simultaneously presents even more opportunities for the economy of innovation, big data, and larger scale solutions.

Mario Prada
MARIO PRADA
CEO, Digital Dreams
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