Starting with smart transport, healthcare and energy.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will generate economic benefits worth up to $11 trillion globally by 2025 while GCC countries will see high adoption of IoT, according to a report.

IoT already connects more than 10 billion devices worldwide and over the next five years, this number is expected to grow to 100 billion, stated the report titled ‘IoT – How Real is it Today?’ by Frost & Sullivan’s Digital Transformation practice.

In the Middle East, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will see high adoption of IoT for smart transportation, the report said.

There are already examples of integration, like the driverless car powered by solar energy at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, it said.

Similarly, the healthcare market in the region holds huge potential for IoT as new and existing hospitals in the GCC compete to be the most innovative and advanced in the region, it noted.

In 2016, there were over 100 projects related to new hospital construction or improvement of existing hospitals. The combined construction value of these projects was $18.70 billion.

IoT is fuelling growth opportunities across verticals, including automotive, healthcare, energy and manufacturing, among others, according to the report.

IoT can generate a strong return on investment by reducing support costs, increasing customer loyalty and referrals, uncovering insights to cross-sell or up-sell to customers and developing customer-appealing products, said Haritha Ramachandran, associate director, Digital Transformation, Frost & Sullivan.

However, poor information availability due to a lack of cyber infrastructure and connectivity is a key challenge for the global IoT market, according to the report.

With distributed network architecture, information is scattered across several repositories that often fail to integrate and provide valuable insights in critical situations.

This highlights the need for a centralised architecture that can seamlessly communicate among distributed data sources and provide real-time information when required.

Convergence with emerging technologies, such as Big Data and context-aware computing, can help address IoT security issues, said Haritha.

Leveraging converged technology capabilities could enable accurate analysis of user data, provide access rights, and deliver a secured environment for IoT in the coming years, Haritha said.

According to a study by International Data Corporation (IDC), total investment in MEA IoT will surpass the $14 billion mark in 2020.

IoT solution deployments across the region will continue to see increased adoption rates, both in the public and private sectors, as stakeholders begin to realise an immediate return on their investments, the study found.

The main industries leading the way in terms of IoT investment in the MEA region are manufacturing and transportation, with both expected to see $1.1 billion worth of investments each this year.