The Internet of Things (IoT)

It is not new for 2015, but I think that it is the year that the Buzzword, IoT, the ‘Internet of Things’ will start becoming common parlance. What is this all about you may ask?, well it is not entirely new, but it is of growing interest as more and more ‘things’ can be controlled via the Internet.

You may be using one already without really thinking about it, the one I have in mind being Sky TV’s remote record, where you can from your browser (maybe on your phone on the train home) tell your Sky box to record a favourite programme. There are others of course, remote viewing of cctv cameras and weather stations (I have just got one of these where I can see the weather at home whilst being away), with many more to come, some forecasters saying that some 50 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

With this predicted growth comes a question, ‘who will pay for the required upsizing of the Internet’s backbone?’ We came across this interesting article on the whole subject and thought we’d share it with you. Happy reading….

Who will pay for the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is set to infiltrate every area of our lives, but with so much investment required to deliver the devices, infrastructure and standards, who is going to pay? asks Sophie Curtis

Cupboards that order groceries for you when you’re running low, cars that automatically drive to the nearest available parking space, and central heating systems that warm up the house and have a hot bath waiting for you when you get home from work – this is the vision of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The term has been bandied around for years, but now the hype is reaching fever pitch. According to some forecasts, there will be 50 billion everyday objects connected to the internet by 2020, and the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills claims the global market for smart city technology solutions and services could reach over £250 billion by the end of the decade.

Technology companies from Apple to IBM are developing the devices and platforms that will allow homes and offices to become ‘smarter’; construction companies are working out how embed sensors into roads and buildings; fashion brands are integrating connectivity into clothes and jewellery; utilities are changing the way they deliver power and water based on usage data; and governments and regulators are working to establish the standards that will allow all these connected ‘Things’ to communicate with each other efficiently.

But who will pay for the IoT? Will internet service providers and mobile operators be expected to absorb the cost, as billions of new devices start eating up their network bandwidth? Will the companies that make the ‘Things’ be forced to pay the internet providers for use of their networks – a cost that will inevitably be passed onto consumers? Or, in the interests of getting ahead in the global race, will governments subsidise the IoT in the same way it subsidises some utilities?

The Internet’s the thing

The IoT is an ecosystem that will eventually incorporate almost every aspect of our society, but will be largely invisible. Early attempts to make the IoT a reality have tended to focus on the ‘Things’ – tangible consumer goods like thermometers and lightbulbs that people can buy in shops and require a significant amount of human interaction. However, the real game-changer is the ‘Internet’ – the infrastructure and connectivity that will underpin it all.

Putting this infrastructure in place is no small undertaking. While some countries are attempting to build smart cities from the ground-up, with networks and sensors pre-installed, most connected devices need to be retrofitted. This often requires planning permission – particularly in the case of historic or listed buildings – so local councils and town planners need to be involved from the start.

For the whole article on IoT, the Internet of Things, click the link