深度對話 | 中國物聯網的現在與未來
作者：Jana Tian & Sharon Chen來源：騰訊網
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology frontier that connects the physical realm with the digital. A multitude of sensors collect and transmit real-time data, which allows for unprecedented monitoring, control, and feedback in a system. IoT has transformed manufacturing lines, urban infrastructure, and is now vying for a place in the average household.
The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) estimated that by 2025, there will be 14 billion IoT connections worldwide, with a third coming from China.As its society embraces digital transformation, China has seen its IoT market size nearly double in just the past three years - from $56 billion to $100 billion.
How has China achieved such rapid growth in its IoT industry, and what’s on the horizon?We interviewed industry veteran Dan Qiao to get an insider glance into the mix of industrial, government, and consumer forces behind China’s IoT boom.
▎Interview with an Industry Expert
Dan Qiao is a VP at Plug and Play China and leads the IoT Accelerator. He has been active in tech incubation, open innovation and early-stage investment in China since 2013. Previously, he worked at Huawei for seven years, playing a key role in their overseas expansion sales operations. His experience has given him both hands-on experience and a bird’s eye view around China’s IoT industry.
How do you define IoT?
IoT is not a very new concept. In short, the idea is toconnect everything. On a basic level, we build small, localized networks involving physical objects. Then, upon this foundation, we can collect data, perform optimization, and apply machine learning/AI. IoT has already found many applications among various industries and consumers, and with additional policy incentives, I thinkhigh connectivity can be attained within three to five years.
What does the IoT marketin China look like today?
Many tech innovations start in business-driven applications then trickle down to consumer adoption. For IoT in China, the three major sectors of activity are industry (IIoT), smart city, and smart home.
- Industry & manufacturing:
IoT has been embraced inmanufacturing and agriculture, as increasedmonitoring and feedback capabilityhelp companiesboost productivity,cut costs, and increase efficiency. This has also driven the development and scale-up of specialized sensors that can then benefit other non-industrial IoT applications.
- Smart cities:
Many governments are looking to incorporate IoT in their transportation systemsin the form of traffic cameras, EV chargers, and even manhole covers. Another major application isutilities management. In most large cities in China, water and electricity meter readings are automated through IoT, which has helpedcut costs in the long-term, despite higher upfront investment.
- Smart homes / consumer goods:
This is the newest frontier of IoT development, including Internet-connected household appliances and wearables such as smart watches. We also seeintersections with healthcare needs, with products that can perform health monitoring. The two groups of players racing to develop consumer-facing IoT today are 1) tech giants like Xiaomi and Huawei and 2) traditional home appliance companies like Haier and Midea.
Which of the three areas is the innovation focused on now?
At Plug and Play, we are currently more focused on2B applications, such as IoT in manufacturing, agriculture, and smart cities. In these cases, if you can solve the technical problem, there will be a market and business. In contrast, consumer-facing applications are riskier because their business model requires“killer apps”, mature technology, and proper timing. That being said, companies like Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, JD, and Meituan are all investing in their own consumer IoT projects.
在Plug and Play，我們目前更專注于企業應用（toB application），例如制造業，農業和智慧城市中的IoT。在這些情況下，如果服務商能夠解決技術問題，他們就會有市場和業務。相反，面向消費者的應用程序則更具風險，因為其業務模型需要“殺手級應用程序”，成熟的技術和適當的時機。巨頭公司更具優勢，例如百度，阿里巴巴，騰訊，京東和美團等公司都在投資自己的消費物聯網項目。
What do you think has contributed towardsthe rapid growth of IoT in China?
To be market ready, a technology needs to demonstrate not only performance, but alsocost competitiveness. For IoT in China,the policy environment around network infrastructure has really lowered the cost.
For example, take the cost of data bandwidth. A few years ago, there was no distinction between data use by users versus by objects. Without this distinction, even connecting something as basic as an electricity meter was prohibitively expensive. Now, with infrastructure advances, and platforms designed by the three largest network providers specifically for IoT, costs have lowered significantly.
In fact, since 2015, Chinese government has been backing the support towards integrating the country’s mobile internet, cloud computing and big data initiatives through its ‘Internet Plus’ strategy.I believe the growth of IoT in China will continue as long as Chinese government keeps providing positive support.China has just committed to the ‘Made in China 2025’ program to upgrade the nation’s manufacturing capacity, which is promising to the whole IoT industry but especially IIoT.
How is the IoT landscape in China compared to thatin the United States, or other parts of the world?
From the demand side, the products that consumers want are probably more similar than not. The differences lie inthe cost of and the ecosystem around IoT. For example, a key factor of lowering cost in China is the government push to invest in IoT and enabling technologies. Sharing an ecosystem with Huawei, who can provide advanced and affordable 5G networks, is a clear advantage.In other countries, industry growth is mostly driven by private sector players and market forces, which focus more on short-term returns on investment. This can hinder the development of infrastructure on which IoT depends.Policy and culturecan play roles too. For example, more skeptical attitudes towards data privacy have posed major challenges for IoT companies in other parts of the world.
What is the role of 5G in driving forward IoT?
The power of IoT lies in the number of devices connected.As the Internet infrastructure continues to mature with the spread of 4G/5G, IoT will only continue to grow. However, infrastructure is only the first step - real market takeoff will require killer apps to convince people to buy in. Most consumer-facing projects harnessing 5G capabilities are still in their experimental phase, but I expect some key benefits to be realized as soon as next year.
物聯網的能力在于所連接設備的數量。隨著4G / 5G的普及，互聯網基礎設施逐漸成熟，物聯網將持續增長。但是，基礎架構只是第一步。真正的市場飛速發展需要殺手級的應用程序才能說服消費者購買。大多數面向消費者的5G功能項目仍處于試驗階段，但是我希望一些關鍵的優勢在明年能夠盡快實現。
One example is a digital mall piloted by Wanda and Huawei. By providing 5G/IoT capability, they are exploring how to better serve shops and customers through guided purchasing and more bespoke shopping experiences. For example, by combining location data and a customer’s purchase history, they can make recommendations, and make it easier to buy what you want to buy.
例如由萬達和華為牽頭的數字商城。通過提供5G / IoT功能，他們正在探索如何通過指導性購買和更多定制性的購物體驗更好地為商店和客戶服務。數字商城通過結合位置數據和客戶的購買歷史記錄提出建議，并使消費者購買商品變得更加容易。
Supported by government policy and network providers, Chinese IoT products have found a multitude of applications in industry and urban infrastructure. Now, the industry has set its gaze on extending into people’s everyday lives in the form of wearables, smart home appliances, and next generation mall experiences. Active support through investment and policy, combined with the dawn of 5G network capability, continues to propel China towards IoT’s promise of connecting everything.