“Working for a Connected World” We ask Telenor about the Internet of Things

By Rehan Ahmed on
November 27, 2015
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The Internet of Things is the a network made up of various computers or chips-embedded sensors and electronics that are connected together in one system, that not only takes in and converts all the data from the devices into a readable form, but also makes automated decisions to make the overall system much more efficient and intelligent. The promise of the Internet of Things is an enticing one. The sheer prospect of having a completely connected world with every little computer working together in tandem with other devices for creating a one smart system is an eye-watering one, especially for the fans of big data and tech giants around the world that rely on consumer data. Telenor is another one of these tech companies, that is eyeing the Internet of Things as a potential game changer.

Telenor, one of the top five telecoms in Pakistan, has been working to encourage the startup and entrepreneurial industry in Pakistan. Recently, it has been putting a lot of effort in bringing light to the promise of a connected world in the form of the “Internet of Things”(IoT for short). Back in May, an expo was held in Lahore and just last week, the telecom giant also held an expo about IoT in Karachi. The event was a big success, and played host to a number of big companies and young startups around Pakistan.

Impressed by the passion and interest shown by Telenor in this relatively new technology (especially for the Pakistani market), we decided to ask Telenor a few questions,

Why does Telenor care about Internet of Things?

We have seen explosive growth of the internet the world over, with Pakistan being no exception. Internet of Things (IoT) is a development of the Internet in which everyday objects and people have network connectivity to enable them to achieve greater value and service by exchanging data with the connected devices allowing them to send and receive data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The IoT market is expected to be one of the fastest growing segments in the Asia Pacific technology industry. According to a recent study, total Asia Pacific spending on IoT will continue to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 34 percent to reach US$ 58 billion by 2020. IOT is going to have huge impact on home automation, health care, businesses and many other areas where every accessibility will be taken care of by the connected devices on IoT.

Telenor in Pakistan is the first mover in creating awareness for IoT. The purpose for this event is to make Pakistani society aware of what they can do with various connected devices and Telenor offerings, like the smart meter, school platform, fuel monitoring, chiller monitoring, child safety, connected cars, connected geyser etc., through which people and businesses can change the way they interact with their devices and to make lives better. With a strong grip of the country’s dynamics, we intend to create, support and promote IoT solutions that are tailored to transform the Pakistani society and ensure a more extensive digital inclusion.

Given the fact that major population of Pakistan is devoid of Internet, do you think IoT needs our immediate attention?

It’s true that some major segments of Pakistan’s population still have no access to the internet, with some areas even being devoid of the mobile network. But things are changing fast as Telenor Pakistan is taking strides towards expanding our network outreach and mobile internet to the remotest areas of the country. With a 3G uptake reaching 5.5 million, Telenor Pakistan leads the mobile internet landscape in the country and with our frequently upgraded portfolio of affordable 3G enabled handsets, the numbers and thus mobile internet access is growing fast.

That said, Telenor Pakistan does not think that IoT needs our immediate attention. But we do believe that in an emerging market like Pakistan’s, where we have lots of dynamic young minds using and creating technology, IoT is ready to build a solid footing to slowly compete with the global market. As part of our ambition of empowering Pakistan, we would love to see indigenously designed and produced IoT goods appear and stand out in the international market.

Moving forward, how is Telenor planning to support the up and coming IoT startups from Pakistan? Is it just through organizing such events more often or does the organization plans to invest, incubate or partner with promising startups?

Telenor Pakistan was the one to introduce the concept of Internet of Things in Pakistan earlier this year, and on Nov 18, we held the largest IoT in the country’s history. Key motivation behind organizing the immensely successful IoT events is solely to empower the Pakistani society in more innovative ways possible. To support, promote and encourage the Pakistani IoT startups, we also held the first IoT Awards to qualify for which the products or solutions had to be designed and developed completely within Pakistan.

IoT exhibitions is not the only way we support and promote the local technology startups. Our annual Apportunity events bring together innovative and talented individuals and give them a platform to exercise and showcase their abilities. Apportunity participants develop mobile apps for Android, Windows and iOS in the categories of education, health, internet of things, entertainment, disaster management and several others.
To promote and support the local IoT talent and business, Telenor Pakistan is partnering with various organizations and startups the details of which will be shared as the development is made.

What are the initiatives Telenor is taking to make a better digitally connected Pakistan?

  • First of all is the Internet of Things events that aim at empowering Pakistani people and ensuring digital inclusion on a larger scale.
  • One of our biggest initiatives to bring ‘internet for all’ is Free Basics that gives free access to popular social media, news, retail and educational websites to all 33 million Telenor Pakistan users.
  • Telenor Pakistan also introduced Wingle & MiFi devices to extend Telenor internet to WiFi enabled devices such as laptops, tablets etc.
  • As mentioned before, our annual Apportunity events bring together innovative and talented individuals and give them a platform to exercise and showcase their abilities.
  • Moreover, thanks to our largest 3G uptake in the country, Telenor Pakistan is spearheading a digital revolution giving more and more people easy and effective access to the mobile internet.
  • In pursuit of our commitment of ‘internet for all’, we regularly upgrade our 3G device portfolio with affordable 3G enabled handsets so more people cash in on the power of mobile internet.

In addition, to raise awareness about the constructive uses of the internet technology, Telenor Pakistan hosts internet literacy events for school children countrywide.

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