China's Internet of Things faces obstacles
By Cindy Geng
Beijing. December 3. INTERFAX-CHINA - The success of Internet of Things (IoT) will hinge on both the development of IPv6 (Internet protocol version 6) and the wireless sensor manufacturing industry, industry exports told Interfax on Dec. 3.
According to Xie Feibo, director-general of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's (MIIT) Radio Administration Bureau, China's waning IP address supply will severely hinder IoT development in the short run. As IoT is essentially a virtual network of objects linked through sensory devices, every object in the network will require a unique IP address. China's existing supply of IP addresses under the IPv4 standard is projected to run out by 2012 and the adoption of IPv6 will require a transition period of at least three to five years.
Another factor impeding IoT development in China is a weak capacity for high-performance wireless sensor manufacturing.
Zeng Zhize, from the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) Institute of Industrial and Technological Economics, said that China will need to import over 80 percent of high performance wireless sensors needed to develop the domestic IoT industry.
Wang Zhonghong, the director of the High-Tech Industry department of the State Council's Development Research Center, said that foreign companies hold over a 70 percent market share in IoT-related core equipment research and manufacturing, including the manufacture and design of both wireless sensors and chip sets.
According to an Analysys International report, China's IoT industry holds enormous growth potential and is expected to be worth over RMB 20 billion ($2.93 billion) by 2015.
The Internet of Things refers to a network of objects that are linked through the installation of sensory devices such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips, wireless infrared sensors and GPS (Global Positioning Systems) trackers.
Through such a network, virtually any object, from vehicles to appliances to animals, can be identified and managed by humans remotely through radio tags, RFID chips and two-dimensional bar codes linking to an Internet or telecommunication network.