Currently, companies of various sizes and focus areas are integrating IoT, AI, and Big Data into their operations. These technologies allow businesspeople to optimize and automate a variety of processes, increasing the efficiency and reducing expenses.
Representatives of Vodafone Ukraine – Mykola Traknov, Head of Digital Solutions and Platforms Department, and Sergiy Boryslavsky, Head of Income Management and Big Data Department – shared their opinion about the integration, application, and promotion of IoT, AI, and Big Data in Ukraine.
Internet of Things
IoT in general
International Data Corporation (IDC) summed up the global IoT market in 2018. The analytical company estimated its volume of $646 billion. A year ago, MarketsandMarkets assessed the market of $424.7 billion. Such a growth rate corresponds to the expectations of analysts predicting that the IoT market will increase by 23.1% year by year. It means that the market volume will be approximately $1.2 trillion by 2020.
As to the amount of IoT devices, the pattern is ambiguous. In 2017, Strategy Analytics reported that the number of IoT gadgets worldwide would exceed 20 billion by the end of the year. Gartner mentioned 8.4 billion IoT devices in that year, while Juniper Research predicted 21 billion unites in 2018.
This can be explained as follows: all companies gave their own vision of what to refer to IoT devices and what not. Some of them include laptops to their ratings, others highlight smartphones of tablets.
According to Mykola Traknov, such a difference in figures is caused by the absence of a single concept regarding IoT devices. A gadget can support IoT features. But if it is not a part of the IoT ecosystem, it is just an individually operating element.
Integration of IoT in Ukraine
In 2017, Lifecell and IoT Ukraine established Ukraine’s first collaborative Internet of Things laboratory. In 2019, they evolved the IoT network in three Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Lviv, and Kropyvnytskyi.
Prior to this, at the end of 2018, one of the world’s largest mobile network operators – Vodafone Group – signed an agreement with Vodafone Ukraine on the application of the Vodafone global platform within the country. Therefore, Ukrainians will be able to use this network for smart gadget operations.
Potential applications of IoT networks include the following:
- Solutions for smart cities: lighting control, road traffic, smart parking lots, and cars.
- Solutions for private users: sensors and meters for smart houses, animal and delivery tracking devices, health monitoring gadgets.
Mykola Traknov states that vehicle location monitoring devices, smart watches for kids and adults, video analytics systems, financial equipment networks, etc. are widely used in Ukraine nowadays.
“According to some estimates, there are about 4-4.5 million machine devices connected via various communication channels, and this number constantly grows,” the expert says.
Mr. Traknov believes that location tracking systems (particularly for luggage and suitcases), smart household appliances (fridges, vacuum cleaners, TVs), and smart assistants will keep advancing. Identification services using a single device will evolve as well. Besides, we will face certain changes in the interaction with the public authorities as well the adoption of smart city systems and urban portals.
“Thus, the majority of common gadgets and devices will become a part of the general IoT ecosystem,” the specialist stresses.
Speaking about the distribution of IoT devices, according to the report by teknowlogy Group, only 26% of world’s all IoT gadgets are concentrated in the production industry and 74% in the non-production sphere.
Mykola notes that the Internet of Things in Ukraine is frequently utilized in transport, logistics, finances, different security and meter reading systems.
Challenges of Ukrainian IoT market
Unfortunately, IoT technologies are more interesting to businesses rather than to private entities as of today. At the same time, the Ukrainian market is almost entirely occupied by foreign companies. Users tend to buy foreign devices due to aggressive marketing of their brands.
Meanwhile, companies also have some problems. Leaders won’t integrate an IoT solution if it does not generate profit at once. It turns out that few people will go in for long-term investments without instant income.
Innovativeness is far from perfect as well. Indeed, various factories and some apartments are equipped with smart sensors. There are data centers are upgraded electrical grids. However, Ukrainian developers often apply off-the-shelf foreign solutions.
“Simple purchase and integration of technology hardly ever lead to any positive effect without changing business processes, structures, emergence of new ideas and knowledge, and, in many cases, replacement of business operation scheme. Therefore, a lot of market players try to use new technologies in order to determine what changes the company needs to enhance its efficiency. Moreover, legislation often does not suggest the appearance of certain technology. It can slow down the advancement of the Internet of Things,” Mykola mentions.
Vodafone Ukraine extensively interacts with its customers. It allows by joint efforts to define where and how the adoption of technology will encourage the business growth.
“Together with clients, we create and implement diversified pilot projects in order to show the technology itself, appreciate its impact on company activity, analyze business case studies, and assess the economic effect for further scaling. To solve legislative restrictions, we work with regulatory bodies to adapt legislation to new technological realities,” the expert explains.
AI and Big Data
Integration of AI and Big Data in Ukraine
AI and Big Data is widely used in the Ukrainian retail area. It is difficult to imagine machine learning of various neural networks without dig data.
For example, a Ukrainian retailer – Foxtrot – adopted a neural network to manage prices in 10 of its shops. It took into account seasons, discounts, shelf prices, competitors’ prices, warehouse stock, and staff motivation. As the result, the average monthly income across stores increased by 16% and sales grew by 14%.
Another example: still not implemented idea of fully automated outlet of the well-known chain – Chervonyi Market. It is going to make artificial intelligence control all the processes, from shelf position to payments.
Abstracting from retail, AI has entered the banking sector: PrivatBank already uses intelligent online assistants. Furthermore, the bank has its own service that will help Ukrainian entrepreneurs to accept bank card or Apple Pay payments via a chatbot on the messenger.
Kyiv has launched the Kyiv Smart City project where citizens, businesspeople, and lawmakers are trying to turn the city into the innovative megalopolis. Artificial intelligence plays one of the key roles in this plan. In particular, it is referred to the transport network advancement and the efficient use of urban space.
Fozzy group of companies also applies Big Data technology: it analyzes a shopping basket in order to provide clients with relevant offers in future. The advertising market is also actively utilizes big data, including AdMixer.
Challenges of AI and Big Data promotion in Ukraine
One of the reasons for slow adoption of new technologies in Ukraine is the chiefs’ reluctance to changes. Specialists claim that it is primarily caused by the lack of awareness. CEOs just don’t know the advantages of AI and Big Data. By the way, they do not understand how to start and whom to address.
The other reason is the shortage of technicians. Currently, AI and big data experts are a rare phenomenon, thus they predominantly work for major companies and obtain huge revenues.
The government’s role in the AI and Big Data development is also crucial. Not only should the authorities invest in this technology, but they also should take care of businesses. It is important to improve conditions for small and medium enterprise growth.
Ukraine has luck in some sense: the Reforms Delivery Office of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has prepared initiatives for 2019. One of them is the elaboration of AI development strategy for up to 2030.
“Today, the adoption of AI and Big Data in Ukraine is prevented by the absence of data operation culture (collection, storage, processing) and data science & data engineer expertise. These professions are rare on the market yet. Personnel deficiency in this issue can be seen not only in this country, but also in the whole world,” Sergiy Boryslavsky says.
Ukraine is combating problems limiting the promotion of artificial intelligence and big data. According to Sergiy, universities are creating individual training programs for required specialists. There are also private educational courses. In general, young people are highly interested in new professions.
“Vodafone does not stand aloof in this aspect. To train people, one needs both technology knowledge and available data. In 2018, we initiated Vodafone big data lab to allow everyone to work with big data. And this is only the first step. We are planning to evolve this area,” the expert comments on.
“The integration of breakthrough technologies is a matter of surviving in the constant competitive battle, including the government level. The efficient adoption will allow Ukraine to become a more competitive state on the global market and Ukrainian businesses and citizens to be eagerly sought and achieve greater possibilities both within the country and worldwide,” Mykola Traknov adds.
On June 4, Sergiy Boryslavsky and Mykola Traknov will be involved in AI Conference Kyiv. They will tell guests why IoT, AI, and Big Data are necessary for forward-looking businesses.
You'll know more than your colleagues and business rivals.