Business / Technology

IoT firms set to get stronger support from govt

By Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-10 07:16

State-level support to companies involved in the Internet of Things will give a boost to a market that's already worth hundreds of billions of yuan annually, industry insiders said as they urged the government to draw up national standards for the IoT.

The Internet of Things refers to a web of connections linking virtually all devices, systems and services.

Projects run by industry leaders are eligible for subsidies of up to 30 percent of the total cost, according to a joint statement released on Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The ministries did not disclose the total amount available.

State investment can be used in technological development, infrastructure construction and project test runs, the statement said. At least 100 projects, ranging from mine safety monitoring to automobile positioning, are scheduled to get government funding this year, according to MIIT.

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"China should move faster to develop national standards for the IoT sector as related services reach more vertical markets," said Wu Hequan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Also on Wednesday, a group of overseas technology companies, led by Intel Corp, Dell Inc and Samsung Electronics Co, formed an alliance to set international standards for the IoT industry. But industry insiders said that China is likely to favor domestic standards because of information security concerns.

"China is determined to develop its own industry standards as it does not wish key technologies in this emerging industry to fall into the hands of overseas enterprises," said Jary Wei, founder of Xi'an Prosate Electronic Technology Co Ltd, one of the largest vehicle-mounted navigation chip makers in the nation.

The MIIT said funding will also be provided to develop national standards, but it didn't give an amount.

It pledged last year to draw up at least 200 national and industry standards for the IoT sector by 2015. Progress on this front hasn't been announced.

The idea of the IoT is developing as more objects are embedded with sensors that give them the ability to communicate online. The all-things-online scenario creates new business models as well.

Take the concept of the "intelligent home". Household appliances that have control chips could "work together" so the air conditioner will adjust the room temperature after the water heater notices someone is about to finish showering.

In addition to the "smart home" segment, the biggest IoT applications in China include logistics, energy, environmental protection and security monitoring.

Local researchers are optimistic about the market. The industry's scale could reach 700 billion yuan ($113 billion) in 2015, a year-on-year jump of more than 30 percent, according to Forward Intelligence Co Ltd, a Shenzhen-based industry consultancy.

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