The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has tasked stakeholders on the need for collaboration to unlock Nigeria’s potential in Internet of Things (IoT) so as to strengthen its revolutionary impacts across sectors.
Director General, NITDA, made the call in Lagos this week while delivering his keynote address at the IoT West Africa Conference and Exhibition 2023.
He noted that implementation of IoT, a key component in the Digital Transformation pillar of NITDA’s Strategic Road Map and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) has its inherent challenges which includes infrastructure, cyber security, and data protection as most IoT platforms use cloud-based solutions such as Alexa and Google among others.
“Today’s computer systems are outperforming humans in many endeavours, especially the rise of generative AI, chat GPT, etc, and that is the fabric of the shift humanity is witnessing in accelerating the convergence between physical, biological, and digital world,” said Abdullahi.
Quoting a McKinsey report, he said by 2030, IoT will generate between $5.5 to $12.6 trillion in value across different industries underscored by exponential growth of connected devices now more than global population, as reported by Cisco.
“Looking at the areas you can apply them, such as the area of agriculture, we need to increase our agri-products, and IoT can help us to do that with lesser human efforts,” said the NITDA boss adding that there are already wearable plant sensors touted as part of the top technologies in 2023.
Farmers can have sensors attached to their plants to manage the health, watering, fertilizer, pesticides application to invariably enhance the increase of food produce.
“According to World Economic Forum, there is need to increase the global food production by 70% in the next seven years to address food security because we are growing faster than any country in the world,” said Abdullahi while he stressed that by 2050, Nigeria will be the third largest population in the world, “therefore, there is need to explore how we can use IoT to increase the country’s food production.”
IoT devices can be applied across sectors whether in security or safety for purpose of monitoring activities, movement patterns, and even enabling geofencing to prevent incidents such as farmer-herder conflicts and kidnapping; oil theft prevention by monitoring pipelines and sending alerts for quick security response.
“Today, most wearable IoT devices monitor the heartbeats, blood pressure which is also useful to medical practitioners in providing information for telemedicine and helps people with disabilities or the senior citizens as first point of health consultancy.
“We don’t have locally manufactured IoT devices, we need to build infrastructure, like data centers, cloud solution where we can put our IoT data,” he urged,” he noted and advised on need to develop the talent within the country to enable digital sovereignty for Nigeria to gain independence of digital offerings.
He added: “We need to build a tailor-made solution that will address our challenges, harness indigenous talents to promote IoT solutions, and this requires the collective efforts of the government, private sectors and all stakeholders.
“We need you, the ecosystem, to do it because our approach today is no more government sitting in the office using armchair theory to come up with policies or regulations, we work with you, the ecosystem, to co-create whatever we do.”