The GSMA has just issued a report detailing how the Government is making China an IoT leader and with GSMA CTO, Alex Sinclair saying: “It’s been the government’s focused strategy, emphasis on common specifications and cross-sector collaboration that has allowed the Internet of Things to scale, delivering positive benefits to businesses and consumer alike.” The Australian Government should take note.
The Chinese Government’s hands-on and far-sighted approach to IoT is in stark contrast to that of the Australian Government, highlighted on this site by myself and other commentators. Back in April I reported on what speakers at the AIIA’s IoT conference had been saying and concluded: “If IoT is going to be as important and as disruptive a force as some predict then government involvement needs to be more than piecemeal, it needs to be visionary, strategic and long term.”
In another piece Jennifer Mulveny, director of cloud policy and government relations for Intel Australia/NZ wrote that the potential of IoT “cannot be realised through private sector innovation alone. It will require the political will and initiative from policy makers to get things done.”
Also in April I reported Catherine Livingstone, chair of the Business Council of Australia writing in the Australian Financial Review and saying “Given the disruption of a hyper-connected world, many of our policy settings are simply not fit for purpose. They have exceeded their design tolerance limits.”
Earlier this month I pointed out the the Government’s recently released White Paper on the competitiveness of Australian agriculture made only passing reference to IoT, widely tipped to have huge potential to transform agriculture.
China’s five-year-old IoT strategy
In contrast, the Chinese Government five years ago flagged the importance of IoT and initiated long term strategies. The GSMA report says:
China leads the world in the adoption of M2M services, with 74 million connections at the end of 2014, representing almost a third of the global base. … In China, the IoT is benefiting from both government support and productive partnerships between companies from different sectors. … As it has done in other it sectors, China’s central government is leading the development of standards, supporting the establishment of an IoT standards association and promoting Chinese-developed standards internationally. The central government also selected 202 cities in 2014 to pilot smart city projects. … the government is mandating the use of smart meters to improve energy efficiency in homes.
It then goes on to detail these initiatives.
“In August 2010, Premier wen Jiabao announced that the IoT is critical to China’s information and communication technology plans, and a national IoT Centre was established in Shanghai in the same year. China’s Ministry of industry and information technology released its 12th five-year Development Plan in 2012, with the goal of scaling the IoT market to RMB 1,000 billion ($US163b) by 2020. The midterm information and communications technology (ICT) development report of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC Congress significantly expanded the focus on cloud computing and the IoT, while providing preferential tax policies for the software and integrated circuits industries, including IoT manufacturers. At the same time, the government’s IoT Special fund is promoting IoT research and development, applications and services. Grants are offered to self-funded projects, and loan subsidies support enterprises with bank-loan funding. in 2014 the government upped its annual investment in IoT to RMB10 billion ($US1.6b).
Internet+ aka Industry 4.0
“China is now pursuing a strategy it calls Internet+ [known elsewhere as Industry 4.0] to drive economic growth through integration of Internet technologies with manufacturing and business, according to Premier Li Keqiang’s 2015 Government work report. China is seeking to integrate the mobile internet, cloud computing, big data and Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, fostering new industries and business development, including e-commerce, industrial internet and internet finance. …
“China established an inter-agency council in 2013 to coordinate the government’s policy and action on IoT. The council members include national Development and reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of industry and information technology (MIIT), Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Ministry of Education and the National Standardisation Administration. with the support of this council, China issued a Directive on IoT industry development and IoT Action Plan in 2013, specifying 2015 targets in terms of top-level design, standards formation, technology R&D, application and promotion, industrial support, business models, safety, government support, laws and regulations, and workforce training.”
Industry 4.0 (Internet+ in China) is a concept introduced by the German Government at the 2011 Hannover Fair and being pursued aggressively by the German and other Governments. And in Australia? I could find few mentions of it on any Government web site, one being a reference to Jeff Connolly, CEO, of Siemens Australia, urging Australia to adopt the concept!