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The Internet of Things gets some government cash

The Internet of Things gets some government cash

The Technology Strategy Board's investment of up to £50K per company will help drive the Internet of Things forward.

The Technology Strategy Board, a business-led government body founded to create economic growth though innovation and sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has announced plans to award ten British companies up to £50,000 each to drive the development of the 'Internet of Things.'

The Internet of Things, for those who are unfamiliar, is the name given to efforts in connecting widespread sensor networks monitoring the environment, energy meters, buildings, vehicles, gadgets and even individual pieces of rubbish in order to build a detailed, accurate picture of our world. The promise is that, by gathering as much information as possible, we could potentially improve our quality of life while helping decrease waste and increase efficiency.

It's not a new concept: sites such as Pachube already allow individuals to create their own sensor networks for remote monitoring, while chipmaker Qualcomm offers an open-source peer-to-peer ad-hoc networking technology dubbed AllJoyn as its own contribution to the Internet of Things.

The Technology Strategy Board's plan, however, is to help ten UK companies - named as AIMES Grid Services, British Telecom, Cambridge Wireless, Focus Innovation, Globosense, Housing 21, In Touch, InteliTap, Swirrl IT and WattBox - push the UK's contribution to the concept forward in the hopes of being at the forefront of technological change.

'The Internet of Things has the potential to stimulate large scale investment, create jobs and bring substantial economic growth,' claimed David Bott, director of innovation programmes - a real job title, we're assured - at the Technology Strategy Board. 'The number of connected objects is estimated to reach 50 billion by 2020, and the potential added value of services using the Internet of Things is likely to be in the range of hundreds of billions of pounds a year, with new business models, applications and services across different sectors of the economy.'

In addition to cash investment of up to £50,000 for each company, the TSB has announced the founding of a Special Interest Group (SIG) which has as its first project the creation of a research and development road-map, the results of which are due to be released in the coming months.

Are you pleased to see the government helping fund interesting projects like this, or would you prefer to have seen the money go to more innovative start-ups rather than giants the likes of BT? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

6 Comments

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Necrow 13th January 2012, 15:05 Quote
What has Radio Frequency IDentifiers got to do with this? (Toll toad tags, clothes tags etc..)
Gareth Halfacree 13th January 2012, 15:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Necrow
What has Radio Frequency IDentifiers got to do with this? (Toll toad tags, clothes tags etc..)
Everything you just said. The Internet of Things is all about monitoring and tracking: being able to track your stuff is key, and RFID is just one of the ways that's possible.

See also the old Violet Mir:ror and the Oxfam RFID trial.
Bakes 13th January 2012, 20:10 Quote
How big are the companies involved? A grant of £500k in total could well just be political posturing if they have more than a few employees...
VipersGratitude 13th January 2012, 20:17 Quote
Ahhh...internet zero.

I posted about this about 3-4 years ago, and got zero replies. I was wondering when the world might catch up...

5n-APFrlXDs
Bakes 14th January 2012, 00:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by VipersGratitude
Ahhh...internet zero.

I posted about this about 3-4 years ago, and got zero replies. I was wondering when the world might catch up...

5n-APFrlXDs

FYI this isn't necessarily internet 0, which would explain why you got zero replies. Internet zero is a different method of reaching a similar end. Linking up standard household devices to the internet has been a goal for many years. I remember talk of smart fridges which tracked use by dates etc back when my age could be written in a single digit.
LordPyrinc 15th January 2012, 05:36 Quote
RFID isn't just about tracking the location of an item. The tags can also be equipped with battery powered sensors to log data elements such as temperature at set intervals. So when a temperature sensitive crate of perishable food arrives at a particular destination, the item can be scanned and the data log retrieved to ensure that the food stayed within the appropriate temp range throughout the shipping process.
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