Vodafone says agriculture, health and transport dominate IoT in Ireland

23 Apr 2019

Image: © ValentinValkov/Stock.adobe.com

The machine-to-machine engine is roaring at full throttle.

Vodafone Ireland has revealed that the number of global connections for its internet of things (IoT) technology in Ireland has grown 35pc year on year.

The company said it is seeing steady growth in IoT across all sectors as more and more technologies connect using its global and local IoT networks, with sectors such as agriculture, health, transportation and logistics leading the charge.

‘As a small country, we are on the cusp of a digital revolution that will reimagine how we live and do business – IoT and the connectivity to enable it will play a key role in that transformation’

According to a Vodafone spokesperson, globally connected IoT SIMs numbered 375,000 at the end of December, and between December and March the company saw a 15pc to 20pc increase in this category.

Last month telecoms regulator ComReg revealed that machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile subscriptions in Ireland surpassed the 1m milestone. In Q4 2018 Vodafone Group had the largest market share of M2M subscriptions at 50.7pc, followed by Three Group with 47.4pc. Eir had the remaining 2.0pc of M2M subscriptions

According to the recently published Vodafone IoT Barometer, the rise in adoption is due to the ease with which organisations can buy cost-effective, off the-shelf IoT solutions and bring them to life with reliable, secure connectivity.

Respondents from 1,750 businesses from across the globe, including Ireland, said IoT technology is having a profound impact across many sectors and industries.

For example, 86pc of adopters surveyed in the automotive industry are using or plan to use IoT to increase revenue and differentiate their products. Additionally, 84pc of insurance adopters say their business strategy has changed because of IoT. Overall, 60pc of adopters say that IoT will have completely disrupted their industry in five years’ time.

M2M is now a part of everyday life in Ireland

Dark-haired woman in black top sits in front of a library of books.

Debbie Power. Image: Vodafone

IoT technology is fast becoming a crucial part of everyday life in Ireland, with uses including telemetry for your car, connected ambulances, CCTV connectivity, GPS tracking, streetlight and signage management, and more.

In the healthcare sector, Vodafone IoT is already enabling remote monitoring for people living with chronic conditions, removing their need to travel, improving lives dramatically for people living in rural areas.

Vodafone Ireland IoT country manager Debbie Power said she sees agriculture as the sector with the most growth potential in Ireland. She said agricultural companies can achieve higher yields, increase productivity and lower costs with IoT solutions.

For example, field sensors – or always-on IoT devices with a long battery life – connected by low-power narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology can take into account crop conditions, temperatures and weather conditions in order to adjust the way each crop or field is watered.

Vodafone provides IoT connectivity to Alltech’s mixer wagon manufacturing division, Keenan, based in Borris, Co Carlow. This IoT technology is used to connect farmers globally to InTouch, Alltech’s on-farm nutrition service. Using insights from the IoT-connected machine controllers, feed management software and other data on the farm, InTouch nutritionists work proactively with farmers worldwide to continually improve feeding accuracy, consistency and herd productivity.

Treemetrics, a Cork-based software development company, also uses Vodafone’s global IoT connectivity for a highly innovative online platform called Forest HQ. This facilitates the planning, inventory, analysis and precision monitoring of forest resources. Treemetrics provides pioneering solutions to the global forest industry in more than 16 countries.

“Ireland is very much at the forefront of innovation,” Power said. “As a small country, we are on the cusp of a digital revolution that will reimagine how we live and do business – IoT and the connectivity to enable it will play a key role in that transformation.

“Adoption of IoT technologies has grown significantly in the last year in Ireland. Organisations are now using IoT technology to create completely new services and transform their businesses. We are seeing adoption across a number of sectors, but some are consuming more readily than others. The most active industries include utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and telecoms, automotive, agriculture, logistics, and healthcare.

“Gartner’s positioning of Vodafone in the Leaders’ Quadrant for a record fifth consecutive year recognises our exceptional progress in IoT, as well as our standing as a thought leader and innovator. We want to ensure equality of access to leading technologies by all people and businesses in Ireland, regardless of location. We are working closely with Government and the wider industry to ensure that, collectively, there is a focus on this in the years to come,” said Power.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years