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Asian IoT Megatrends Report

This white paper explores the drivers and differentiating factors of IoT deployment, as well as examples of customer success stories from three key verticals: automotive, transportation, and logistics, as well as energy, utilities, and resources.

Asian IoT Megatrends Report

Set to Surge: APAC moves from IoT Laggard to Global Pioneer

APAC offers great potential for IoT applications, but fragmentation presents complex challenges for businesses in the region. The region has been lagging behind the rest of the world, but there’s a silver lining; no other region shows the same capacity for massive growth. To fully capture the opportunities of a connected future, enterprises need to focus on the key areas presented in this report, and be aware of the underlying trends and drivers shaping IoT adoption in the region.

Looking at APAC as a region, the digital transformation of enterprises has been slower than the rest of the world. Despite often being an innovator for new IoT projects (e.g. smart city initiatives), the region lags behind the Rest of the World right now for ‘Full IoT Deployment’ within enterprises (38% for APAC versus 42% in Rest of the World).  However, with spending on the rise, APAC will soon accelerate fast, pushing the adoption of IoT into unprecedented growth. No other region has the same growth capacity – over 38.9 billion IoT devices are forecast to be in circulation by 2030, and cellular IoT modules revenue continues to grow (22% growth 2021 to 2026, compared to a 1% decrease in the Rest of the World). 

This is no longer driven by just the desire to improve business processes, but by a critical mass of external factors from economic, social, and technological viewpoints. Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu are among the tech giants driving China’s rapid adoption of the IoT. Consequently, the IoT has branched out and grown across other industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.

Not all countries in the region are as mature as China. Digital development in APAC is fragmented with some countries at the forefront of global developments, while others are still at early stages. However, no matter the stage of development, if we zoom out there are two major factors driving growth throughout APAC: industrial automation and widespread access to the internet.

Telecom service providers, enterprises, application developers, and device manufacturers, are the main players in APAC’s IoT ecosystem today. All are jostling for position, keen to dominate a larger role in the market and region. This competition is creating complexity as well as a growing need for collaboration and partnerships.  In addition to a fragmented ecosystem, both IoT enterprises and service providers face several other challenges in the region. These include operational complexity, digital transformation, interoperability issues, as well as global coverage and connectivity challenges. Cybersecurity remains a top concern in the region, whilst a lack of local and internal IoT expertise is a challenge in IoT implementation.

To be successful in an increasingly connected future requires digitalization and IoT, and access to expertise using key partners. The good news for enterprises is that they can draw on the wealth of experience, knowledge and learning experience from IoT projects already deployed in both APAC and globally, from experienced partners such as Telenor.


The Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and big data analytics have long been considered ‘emerging technologies’, as enterprises seek to revolutionise their future operations. Indeed, thousands more use cases are still being developed, but in many instances these technologies have already “emerged” and are playing vital roles for enterprises to compete in this current digital era.

In APAC, the combined growth of developed IoT regions (such as South Korea, Japan, Australia, and China) and the emerging IoT regions (such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Thailand) are pushing the 14.5 billion IoT devices in circulation today to a forecasted 38.9 billion in 2030.

This rapid expansion of the IoT ecosystem in the region is pushed by a range of social, economic, and technological factors, where the COVID-19 pandemic has also served as a catalyst to accelerate change.  With IoT enabled solutions being introduced in various verticals and applications ranging from transportation and logistics to energy and utilities; digitalisation and IoT have become the only path towards a connected future.

In the event of this growing trend, Telenor partnered with the technology research and consulting firm Omdia to identify and highlight the trends and growth of the IoT ecosystem within APAC across different verticals.

Download the complete report.

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