What does the internet of things, or IoT, mean to you? You might already be using it, if, for example, you control your home heating and energy usage with a dedicated app.
The internet of things is, essentially, the next industrial revolution. It’s where the internet and the concept of connectivity, expands beyond the boundaries of computers and mobile devices, into other objects, products, structures and systems.
The implications are huge, because this sort of smart technology is, potentially, limitless in its scalability. What we might currently see as a nice-to-have will ultimately be part of the fabric of our daily lives.
A Smarter Future
Smart buildings are on the rise, where the conditions such as heat and light are regulated to fit the requirements of the people in them. This is part of a drive to streamline infrastructure and maximise efficiency.
By extension, the same will be true of the smart cities of the future, with controlled utilities and interconnected urban environment. There will be self-driving vehicles, private and commercial, on the roads.
These developments are not down to some sort of technological vanity – we’re not making them just because we can. They are essential for coping with the increasing demands we make on our surroundings.
Are Manufacturers Prepared for the IoT?
A recent survey from SAP suggests that UK manufacturers are currently underinvesting in the IoT – an average of 8% investment.
Some of this may be due to a general lack of awareness or understanding of its implications. There is also some reluctance to invest in IoT when the UK’s internet speeds are lagging conspicuously behind those of Europe and other developed countries. The UK’s speeds are less than a third of Singapore’s.
IoT has enormous potential to boost growth and productivity
Global technology consultants Accenture report that if the UK can successfully industrialise the IoT, it could increase the country’s GDP by upwards of £354bn by 2030.
What it required is greater commitment from industry in embracing this change. IoT is already improving productivity and reducing costs, but it could do a whole lot more.
The global industrial landscape is changing. UK manufacturers must be prepared to meet this change, and adapt to it.