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The US$79 billion Internet of Things Opportunity At Singapore’s Doorstep

My home’s electric meter, which sits above my front door, was replaced yesterday. The old analog meter was upgraded to a digital meter. The meter change is an apt example of an economic opportunity that sits at Singapore’s doorstep.

The opportunity that I am talking about is the Internet of Things (IoT). According to a report by market researcher Frost and Sullivan, the size of IoT spending in the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow to US$79.3 billion by 2020. That’s significant.

Smarter meters

In late October this year, authorities in Singapore called for proposals to develop solutions for a smart metering trial. The Energy Market Authority, national water agency PUB, and Singapore Power released a joint statement:

“This trial is aimed at enabling electricity, gas and water meters to be read remotely, and providing more timely usage data to consumers to help them better manage their utility consumption.”

In short, the solution has to be able to read electricity, gas, and water consumption remotely. Consumers will also have access to their level of consumption using a mobile app. The solution will also lessen the need for manual meter reading which happens once every two months.

The trial is expected to start in 2018, so it’s early days yet.

A foot in the door

Among the companies in Singapore’s stock market looking to tap on the IoT market is local engineering conglomerate Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd  (SGX: S63).

In its 2016 second quarter earnings briefing, ST Electronics’ president Lee Fook Sun shared some of the company’s initiatives in the IoT space. Lee said:

“So, this is very useful for smart cities. You can put cameras, you can put all kinds of sensors. Sensors can communicate all the way back to a centre where the information can be analyzed, made sense of, and distributed for people in the cities to use.”

ST Electronics wants to position itself as the backbone to collect and analyse multiple sensors as well. Lee explained:

“People are using these for all kinds of things, for water meters, for street lights, sewerage systems, everything. But really, it’s not about the sensor that is connected to it, it’s about the backbone.”

ST Engineering is not the only company going after the IoT pie. It is also early days for the IoT market in Singapore and Asia. We will have to see how the industry unfolds and what tangible opportunities arise.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.