Understanding the IoT needs of enterprises and organizations in Southeast Asia

Our annual Internet of Things (IoT) survey among local enterprises and organizations, coupled with experts’ views during the press briefing held in Bangkok and Jakarta, shed light on issues surrounding IoT implementation in the region.

It was a hectic past week for us at Asia IoT Business Platform as we hosted press briefing sessions in both Bangkok and Jakarta. At the same time, we also concluded our annual IoT survey which looks at the perspectives of local enterprises and organizations in Southeast Asia pertaining to IoT deployment and implementation.

Both elements have allowed us to have a better understanding of the IoT situation in the region; be it in terms of current developments and projects, adoption rates, and challenges faced by customers.

The 2017 ASEAN Enterprise IoT Survey

More than 400 ASEAN enterprises and organizations participated in our annual survey where they responded to questions such as their familiarity with IoT technologies, how IoT can improve their business, and their concerns about implementing IoT, among others.

The main takeaway here, of course, is ASEAN enterprises’ familiarity with IoT. Contrary to popular belief that the IoT market in the region is not mature enough, the survey revealed that 73.3% of local enterprises and organizations are in the stage of exploring IoT for their organizations, or are exploring different solutions to be adopted. This is a 23.3% increase from last year. This is pretty much in line with most projections by market research firm such as IDC and Frost & Sullivan, who expect the adoption rates and IoT market value in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia to grow exponentially.

Separately, local enterprises and organizations believe that IoT can help them to improve productivity (76.3%), reduce long-term operational costs (69.7%), and improve customer relationships (66.1%).

As legitimate and as right as they are, it begs the question of why only 7% of ASEAN enterprises and organizations reported having benefitted from their IoT implementation (although this is a slight improvement from last year where only 4% reported having benefited from IoT implementation).

While we cannot put a finger on exactly why these organizations are not reaping the full benefits of IoT (is it a technological factor or business factor hindering them from achieving their objectives?), we can agree that IoT solution providers need to be present to guide their customers along the implementation journey so as to sustain their confidence in what IoT can help them achieve. Not to question the fact that IoT implementation should be a long-term strategic approach, and not an overnight solution to meet an array of business and organizational goals. (You can read a separate article that we wrote that looks at this issue more closely)

It is of paramount importance, then, to understand the needs of enterprises and organizations, and the challenges they face. The survey revealed the top three concerns which are:

  1. Cost
  2. Incompatibility and legacy system
  3. Complexity

Other challenges include resourcing (manpower, skills) and security.

Hendra Sumiarsa, Division Head IoT and Vertical Apps Solution at Indosat Ooredoo

The concerns and challenges cited by ASEAN enterprises and organizations piqued the interest of one of our panelists at the press briefing that we hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia. Pak Hendra Sumiarsa, Division Head IoT and Vertical Apps Solution at Indosat Ooredoo, provided three simple, but highly sensible and straight-forward strategies to tackle each of the concerns.

To tackle the issue of compatibility, Pak Hendra said that standardization is critical. IoT platforms should be designed to prevent devices and machines from working in silos. Not only will this complicate the technological and technical aspect of IoT implementations, but it will also cause incompatibility with existing systems in organizations.

Cost is said to be relative, according to Pak Hendra. He said that enterprises and organizations need to have faith in IoT that it will help them to achieve their different business objectives including the ones mentioned above: improve productivity, reduce operational cost, and improve customer relationships. As mentioned, IoT is a long-term strategic goal and ROI is not immediate. Pak Hendra urged enterprises and organziations to keep their strategic plan in mind and how they can sustain their competitive advantage.

Lastly, to tackle the issue of complexity, partnerships should be forged. Having a preferred digital partner and working closely with IoT players in the ecosystem—from the solution providers to the government and telecommunication companies—complexity of IoT deployment and implementation can be avoided, or at least alleviated.

Pak Hendra is unwavering in his stand on the position of IoT and the need for digitization. He concluded his panel by reiterating his confidence that Indonesia will be able to boost its economy, and even become one of the five big companies in the world. However, this can only be achieved through a digital revolution, with IoT being a core.

Our enterprise survey and the thoughts expressed by our enterprise panelists spell great incentives for IoT solution providers, wherever they are, to explore the burgeoning market of Southeast Asia. There is great interest in IoT and enterprises are willing to explore and adopt IoT for their businesses and organizations. However, as long as their concerns and challenges remain unaddressed, IoT adoption rates cannot sustain and customers will lose confidence in the technology that has been hyped to help them revolutionize their organizations.

As mentioned in the title of this article, understand the IoT needs of enterprises and organizations is critical.

You can read more about what happened during our press briefings in Thailand and Indonesia via the following links:

  1. Delivering the Promise: the difference between exploring IoT and successfully implementing IoT, Asia IoT Business Platform
  2. Experts spell out key issues for IoT, Bangkok Post
  3. Tech Advancements in SEA driving demand for IoT, Retail News Asia
  4. Focus on Internet of Things and Thailand 4.0 at two-day Bangkok event, The Nation
  5. Internet of Things to Drive Indonesia to Become ASEAN’s Biggest Digital Economy, Warta Ekonomi


Our Indonesian panelists: Prasetyo Andy Wicaksono, Head of IT Development, Jakarta Smart City; Hendra Johari, Head of ICT Operations, Siloam Hospitals; Hendra Sumiarsa, Division Head IoT and Vertical Apps Solution at Indosat Ooredoo; Septiawan Wawan, IT Network & Communication Head, Samudera Indonesia
Fong Yue Yeng, Vice President, Asia IoT Business Platform giving a presentation to Indonesian media
Prasetyo Andy Wicaksono, Head of IT Development, Jakarta Smart City
Hendra Johari, Head of ICT Operations, Siloam Hospitals
Septiawan Wawan, IT Network & Communication Head, Samudera Indonesia
Our panelists for Thailand media day
Furukawa Hidenori, Management Consulting Partner, KPMG; Cherdchai Nopmaneejumrusler, Vice Director Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital; Fong Yue Yeng, Vice President, Asia IoT Business Platform; Natasak Rodjanapichet, Vice President of The Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI); Dr. Adisak Srinakarin, Executive Vice President, Electronic Government Agency; Axel Winter, CTO, Central Group

 You can have a better understanding of IoT needs in Southeast Asia by listening to some of our esteemed enterprise speakers at our business programs across the region. Please contact me at [email protected] for more info!

Abdullah Zaidani

June 21, 2017

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