South Koreain President Park Geun-hye, during her visit to India last week, pitched for IoT as one area where the two countries should work jointly and address other markets.

"Korea and India will be able to produce a global win-win model through a creative economy from the former's strength in hardware and the latter's competitiveness in software," Park said, addressing an information and communications technology forum.

IoT, next-generation smartphones and big data, she said, will be the core engines to achieve a "creative economy" for sustainable growth. Communications & IT Minister Kapil Sibal and South Korean Science, ICT and Future Planning Minister Choi Mun-Kee signed a "Joint Declaration of Intent" between the two ministries to "promote, facilitate and support joint ventures, joint initiatives and markets in the ICT sector".

The two sides also agreed to establish the ICT Policy Forum and hold its first meeting this year to discuss cooperation on software and information security. NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar says there are many things in South Korea that are domain-specific and a partnership would provide an opportunity for Indian firms venturing into newer products and services. The aim would be to "promote the partnership and scale this up.”

IoT is a term for connected sensors, devices and objects. It refers to new technologies that will put everything from your home appliances to the most insignificant object on the Internet for remote monitoring and automatic communication. Market research firm IDC predicts that more than 200 billion items will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers says IoT will change the way people live, work and play.

"It will be bigger than anything that's ever been done in high tech."A 2013 McKinsey report estimated various IoT applications could have an economic impact of between USD 14 trillion and USD 33 trillion a year by 2025. IDC in a report ranked South Korea second after the US among 20 major countries in terms of preparedness for IoT.

"The opportunity for vendors from India to seize opportunities in the top tier G20 countries with services, analytics and applications specific to IoT is the real story for the country, in addition to the evolving efforts it can place on becoming prepared for the IoT world," Denise Lund, research director, Mobile Enterprise Services and M2M, at IDC, said.

British technology guru Kevin Ashton, while working for Procter & Gamble in 1999, supposedly first came up with the term. According to Ashton, efficiency can be increased and waste can be minimized by computer-tagging all objects and people, and dovetailing their needs with production.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, companies like Cisco, GE and Verizon, unveiled their IoT capabilities. Korean chaebols LG and Samsung revealed entire systems and expensive home appliances for the IoT.

LG's smart fridge, for example, will text you if you're out of milk.Samsung's Shape speaker system can stream audio wirelessly from the cloud -- no phone or computer needed.

French company Kolibree displayed a connected toothbrush that keeps a tab on what's happening in your mouth. Earlier this month, Google bought Nest, a smart thermostat and smoke alarm maker. It also displayed a smart contact lens, which monitors diabetics' glucose levels.

Global research institutes expect that the number of identifying devices that are machine-readable in the IoT will amount to as many as 50 billion by 2020 to enable the advent of the new era.


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