Device-to-device connectivity: from China to the world

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It’s tough to keep up with all the IoT events that are taking place around the world. Here’s a list of the ones taking place in Q3 this year. We’ll add the major ones scheduled for Q4 over the weekend. Please feel free to send me an email if you would like us to add yours.

The Economist posted a very useful chart yesterday showing how China is expected to have nearly three times the number of device-to-device connections than the US by 2020. In concluding rather snarkily that “the biggest prizes will go to the home team” in China, the magazine misses the much more important point: namely, that with such a huge domestic market in place, the country is set to lead the world in M2M and IoT applications.

Already we are seeing signs of this leadership emerge in areas such as mobile payments, where China is streets ahead of other countries. In major cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen, you don’t really need to carry cash around with you anymore if you are signed up to a service like Alipay because so many shops, restaurants, and even street stalls accept mobile payments. Come to think of it, you barely need to step outside to go shopping at all given the raft of street-level O2O services that are now available.

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Given how quickly Chinese consumers have embraced device-to-device applications that make life easier, there’s no reason to doubt that the country’s large and small enterprises won’t deploy similar applications that improve the productivity of their factories and service operations. Indeed, this trend is already happening as companies gear up to leverage the IoT in the manufacturing and transportation sectors.

Once they have battlefield-tested these applications in their highly-competitive home market, the next logical step will be to export them to the rest of the world.

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