Even the government is getting behind IoT

30th April 2015
Even the government is getting behind IoT

People who don't closely follow developments in the technology sector might often get overwhelmed and dizzied by the sheer number of apparently game-changing innovations that are being unveiled.

Every week it seems there is a new gadget or app that will transform our lives – so those without a genuine interest in technology might end up failing to take these announcements seriously.

So maybe a useful measure of how significant a new innovation could be is how many people outside the tech fraternity are talking it up. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne recently announced that the government would invest £40 million into boosting the Internet of Things (IoT). This is significant in light of the fact that policymakers are still trying to tackle the UK's budget deficit – and putting this money towards just about any of the public services could have been a huge vote winner ahead of the election.

But the government has highlighted research and development as one of its top priorities and the IoT is clearly an area it believes boasts considerable potential.

Indeed, the chancellor argued in his most recent Budget that "future economic success depends on future science success" – while he described the IoT as "the next stage of the information revolution, connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances".

Mr Osborne even used his announcement of extra money for the IoT to take a swipe at Labour leader Ed Miliband, saying it would allow "someone with two kitchens to control both fridges from the same mobile phone aside".

Politicking and electioneering aside, it is clear the government believes the IoT could offer many benefits for homes and businesses across the country.

It was therefore no surprise to see Mr Osborne's announcement being enthusiastically welcomed by numerous figures in the UK's technology industry.

Neil Crockett, chief executive at the Digital Catapult, commented: "The Internet of Things is a key area of growth for the UK’s digital economy.

"We are proud to be a partner in this project, enabling collaboration between innovators, organisations and academics who, together, can put the UK at the forefront of a new wave of business models that will make the UK more competitive and a better place to live. It means that the UK can be IoT leaders rather than just IoT consumers."

Julian David, chief executive of techUK, added that the announcement shows how essential technology will be in ensuring the country's long-term economic success.

He noted that Britain is in a strong position to be a global leader in the development of the IoT. As a result, Mr David is confident this £40 million investment will "accelerate the development of new innovative solutions for health, social care and smart cities".

The IoT has both commercial and domestic applications, as businesses and households alike will be able to use the technology to become more energy-efficient and mindful of how much power they are using. And of course, this has the added benefit of saving money, so it will be interesting to see the extent to which policymakers keep supporting the development of the IoT after the general election.

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