EghtesadOnline: The development and use of smart solutions and the internet of things in Iran are growing, although much work is needed to expand the application of technologies, especially for managing natural resources, the information and communications minister said.
Addressing a conference held on Monday on smart solutions for energy management, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi also praised domestic tech firms and startups for their efforts to expand the technology ecosystem.
"The IoT sector has seen a twofold expansion in the past several years," Jahromi was quoted as saying by the ministry's website.
IoT is the extension of internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, internet connectivity and other forms of hardware (such as sensors), these devices can communicate and interact with others over the internet and can be remotely monitored, Financial Tribune reported.
"Tech aficionados have successfully completed the idea development stage and produced several innovative products. Now it's the right time to facilitate their presence in a broader context in the domestic market," Jahromi said.
Noting that the ICT Ministry is not a customer of IoT products, Jahromi promised to bring on board other related executive bodies to facilitate the presence of smart gadgets in the local market.
The ICT minister highlighted the strong effect of smart technologies on streamlining natural resource management and said, "IoT products and ideas have significantly helped energy consumption control and agricultural methods."
“Judicious energy consumption has long been a serious challenge in the country, as no comprehensive and workable solution has been developed so far. Hence, IoT-based products can help make energy consumption more efficient and resolve most challenging issues facing the country,” he added.
Jahromi described water scarcity in Iran as a chronic restriction, especially for the inefficient conventional agricultural methods employed in the country.
“The agribusinesses will be able to squeeze water use and simultaneously boost production by applying smart techniques,” he said.
The event was held on the sidelines of the fifth professional conference and exhibition of IoT (IoTex 2019) held in Tehran on Dec. 1-2.
Knowledge-based companies, tech firms and startups active in the IoT sphere, along with experts, academic figures and investors attended the confab.
Experts believe that smart solutions and IoT technology can help resolve chronic problems, particularly those related to metropolises, such as water shortage, environmental pollution and traffic congestion.
Besides, policymakers believe the commercialization of smart services and products offered by homegrown tech firms and startups will reduce Iran's reliance on oil revenues.
That is why support for new startups and technology firms has been prioritized by President Hassan Rouhani since he began his first tenure in 2013.
IoT Gadgets in Resource Consumption
As a small part of IoT expansion in the country, the use of smart electricity metering system is gaining momentum.
This is exemplified by energy-intensive agricultural units and households, which have been equipped with locally-developed smart electricity meters over the past few years.
According to a report by the Energy Ministry, these smart meters have been installed on an estimated 3,000 farmlands and houses in the mountainous province of East Azarbaijan since 2016.
The ministry reports that close to 5,000 more units are being equipped with the metering devices in the region.
In addition, the government-affiliated Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company has installed 307,000 smart meters at farming units in or near Tehran, Mashhad, Ahvaz, Zanjan and Isfahan over the past couple of years.
Transforming traditional wells into smart wells in Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi Province, has reduced the extraction of underground water by 20%, according to the provincial water company.
A total of 1,600 authorized wells in the city are equipped with smart electricity meters to lower water extraction from underground resources by 20%, the company reports.
Smart metering is one of the first steps to developing citywide smart grid systems for curtailing energy and water consumption.
By providing real-time data on electricity and water usage, smart meters allow utility providers to optimize energy and water distribution while also empowering consumers to make smarter decisions about their consumption pattern.