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IoT and India: A Story of Synergy and Mutual Enablement

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India’s digital economy surpasses those of most other countries being one of the largest and fastest growing markets for digital consumers. Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has an impact on reaching growth goals, key indicators suggest that the Indian economy is picking up. Accompanied by big plans of a digital future, the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced India’s vision for 2025 – a USD 5 trillion economy through sustainable and inclusive development, at the center of which are key digital technologies. So, how important of a piece is IoT in this puzzle?

Current IoT landscape in India

Connectivity in India has never been cheaper and better, which supports the goal of 5 billion households connected in an IoT ecosystem by 2022. Researchers expect the IoT investments in India to reach USD 15 billion by 20211, leading to growth in both consumer and industrial IoT. This is driving the IoT market in India to a whole new level.

But, who precisely drives the demand?

Large enterprises (LEs) are leading with a current adoption rate of around 35%. It’s expected that by next year the number of LEs in India focusing on IoT will reach a staggering number of 65%2. Another important segment are the Global Capacity Centers. By last year, there were already 1250 multinationals with GCCs in India, and the numbers are growing. GCCs are testing, implementing, and scaling IoT technologies and use cases with incredible results – Siemens being a big part of this ecosystem. The transport, automotive and industrial verticals across these segments have a quickly growing adoption rate of IoT use-cases contributing to the fast development in India.

In addition to all of this, the Indian government is extremely focused on enabling IoT. It’s a big driver of demand, with continuously increasing digital investments, provision of highspeed broadband connectivity and various business incentives for IoT startups. The government has also developed a comprehensive IoT policy on incentives for research, incubation centers, developing IoT resource pool and other areas. This is not only relevant for companies, but especially for the Indian people and society as a whole.

A mutually beneficial partnership

The widespread digital transformation taking place in India has caused shifts in both society and industry, and vice versa. One example of this is the spread of IoT in the power industry. Nearly 90% of India’s energy comes from fossil fuels, and mostly coal. Air pollution has become a serious health issue for millions of people. In an attempt to curb emissions, the Indian Power Ministry is working on various initiatives relating to smart meters and generation of renewables. This in turn nudges the power companies into investing in IoT adoption and use-cases development that could reduce greenhouse gas emission by 4% by 20303. It’s a virtuous cycle of mutual enablement between IoT and the power industry.

Similar developments are happening in agriculture, which is a crucial part of the Indian economy. The agricultural sector has acknowledged that investing in a technology that enables monitoring soil, weather, and crop conditions is vital for the future of farming in India, which has increased IoT investments. Meanwhile, the growing use of IoT for precision farming is helping Indian farmers utilize their resources more efficiently and reduce the use of pesticides that could have an adverse effect on people’s health.

Consequently, the IoT talent pool in India has been growing rapidly, producing more and more educated professionals, ready to take on the challenge of digitalization. This phenomenon is also attracting an ever-growing presence of GCCs. As a result, India has become somewhat of a cradle for IoT innovation. Only in the period between 2014-2019 there were more than 5000 IoT patents filed4! Approximately 70% of the patents were filed by MNCs and international startups, which means India is becoming an internationally attractive place for IoT development.

What’s next?

Even though Covid-19 has slowed down adoption rate, it’s important to see the wide range of opportunities. Investing in key technologies that are likely to grow in the future during downturns can make all the difference.

Regardless of the current situation, it’s more than clear that IoT technologies and India have a synergic relationship. IoT is bettering the lives of millions of Indians and creating an impact on their economy, while India is enabling an environment in which IoT innovation is encouraged and thrives.


1Zinnov, 2020; 2Zinnov, 2020; 3Deloitte, 2020; 4NASSCOM, 2020.

Author’s Full Name & Designation

Pankaj Vyas

CEO & Managing Director, Siemens Technology and Services Pvt. Ltd.

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