UK Government believes IoT will lead to future innovation

By Nicole Miskelly | 21 August 2014

The UK Government has outlined the eight technologies (plus a further two) it believes will propel the UK to future growth in the new report, Eight Great Technologies. The report is the final in a series introduced by the government to provide analysis into the worldwide patent landscape for the Internet of Things (IoT).  Out of the ten technologies mentioned in the report, big data and IoT are both listed as technologies that will increase growth and innovation in the UK.

The report comes after David Cameron announced government plans earlier this year to spend £45 million on IoT technology to boost the UK’s status as a technology hub and after new digital review, Digital Britain 2015 was released to look into how technology can improve the efficiency of people-powered public services.

The ten technologies mentioned in the report are:

  • the big data revolution and energy-efficient computing
  • satellites and commercial applications of space
  • robotics and autonomous systems
  • life sciences, genomics and synthetic biology
  • regenerative medicine
  • agri-science
  • advanced materials and nanotechnology
  • energy and its storage
  • quantum technologies
  • the internet of things

IoT has emerged since the introduction of wireless technologies and the Internet. IoT is a concept in which objects, people and even animals are provided with unique identifiers and have the ability to transfer data over a network. The ‘thing’ in IoT is any natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and doesn’t require human interaction to provide results.

 IoT often enables companies to save time by using computers to gather real-time data that people do not always have the time or accuracy to collect. IoT has the potential to count and track everything which could reduce waste, cost and loss. If adopted by the banking industry, IoT could help banks get ahead of the competition by providing real-time data and performance monitoring.

The report identifies in 2012 there were 8.7 billion connected devices and this is predicted to rise to between 50 billion and 75 billion devices by 2020. Figures show that the number of IoT patents have significantly increased since 2004, there have been 22,000 published patent applications between 2004 and 2013 relating to the internet of things (IoT), resulting in nearly 10,000 inventions.

UK IoT company Neul, have developed 19 new inventions, two of which are related to networked data communications and according to the report, have been a major contributor to wireless networking technology designed specifically for the IoT and provide better coverage, battery life, module cost and efficiency than other mainstream wireless solutions.

Although figures show that IoT activity in the UK has significantly increased in the last few years, the results are still small in comparison to the activity in China, Korea, Japan and the USA. ZTE, a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company, have developed nearly 300 IoT inventions, making it the top innovator.

The report suggests there are a number of internet-connected smart home devices that are leading the way for home environments to offer both communication and control. Apple’s latest mobile operating system due for release in late 2014, enables manufacturers of smart home appliances to develop software that allows their devices to interact with each other and be controlled by Apple mobiles.

According to the report, if the progression of IoT innovation in recent years and the estimation of up to 75 billion devices in circulation by 2020 are anything to go by, then we should expect to be living in an even smarter digital world in the future.

By Nicole Miskelly, bobsguide Lead Journalist

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