'Internet of Things, cybersecurity are key technology trends of future'

SINGAPORE - Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things are two key technology trends likely to experience high growth in the coming years, new research has found.

While many companies are increasingly spending on IT and infrastructure-level cybersecurity, products from the Internet of Things (IoT) sector are also finding real use, said Mr Ajay Sunder, vice president at the Information, Communication and Technology practice of Frost and Sullivan.

These products are physical objects that are digitally connected and can collect and exchange data with one another.

He was speaking at a seminar on investing in digital companies organised by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), where he also presented findings of a research paper on the digital economy commissioned by the SGX.

Products from IoT sector will feature in smart cities , which governments such as Singapore, India and China already have implementation plans for, Mr Sunder told the Straits Times after the seminar.

In the healthcare sector in Japan, such medical devices already update central systems with readings from patients.

"Any doctor can just observe (the patient) from his device.. and if there's any deviation (in the readings) they can directly come or call the nurse and say put him on a different medicine etc," Mr Sunder said.

Frost and Sullivan projected that the number of connected devices would surge to 50 billion units globally in 5 years' time. This would be equivalent to each person having ten connected devices.

The research paper from Frost and Sullivan detailed the key drivers and risks of ten key digital sub sectors. It also analysed business models used by companies in these sectors and offered metrics that could be used to value these companies.

The purpose of the study was to help investors understand the complexities of these sectors, SGX said in a statement.

These subsectors were IoT, wearables, social media, ecommerce and epayment. They also included crowd funding, big data and predictive analytics, cyber security, data centre and cloud services and blockchain.

Drivers of the wearables sector - electronic technologies or computers incorporated into items of clothing - include growing health consciousness. The ease of use of such wearable devices is another factor.

Growth restraints for this sector include limitations to devising a user friendly interface due to the small device size, and the difficulty of fitting sensors into the devices.

In the case of the Internet of Things sector, lower sensor costs and increasing sensor miniaturisation are spurring growth.

Concerns around data security and privacy however, are potential growth impediments.

The SGX will organise 10 more sessions next year, each one focussing more on these ten sub sectors.

jkoh@sph.com.sg