IoT is at tipping point – it needs partnerships to survive

IoT is at tipping point – it needs partnerships to survive
IoT is at tipping point – it needs partnerships to survive

IoTUK’s Paul Egan argues that IoT needs to be a collaborative effort if it is to change our lives as expected.

Since Kevin Ashton coined the Internet of Things (IoT) back in 1999 it has come a very long way from concept to being a significant power in bolstering the global economy.

Today, IoT has reached a tipping point; it has the potential to transform businesses and public sector organisations across the nation, drive economic growth and instigate social change. From advanced healthcare to smart cities and sustainable living, this technology and its applications will impact all aspects of our lives and is a reality becoming as imminent as ever.

Gartner’s latest predictions indicate that by 2020 more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate IoT in some element, thanks largely to the use cases of these technologies becoming far more practical and cost efficient.

While the benefits of the IoT for businesses, cities and nations are inevitable, the challenges posed by these new technologies cannot be overlooked.

As we have seen with other disruptive technologies previously the widespread deployment, adoption and benefit takes longer to deliver than the hyperbole suggests. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 75 percent of IoT projects will take up to twice as long as originally planned, with weakness in performance, security or seamless integration into existing processes as some of the expected obstacles.  In order to accelerate this process and to truly harness the immense opportunities that IoT technologies and applications can provide, industry collaboration and partnerships are as critical now as ever.

No individual, company or government can overcome the inherent challenges of IoT alone; it is only achievable through a collaborative and structured effort to develop real world solutions. This involves interoperability between systems, data and devices, integrated ecosystems and an open and secure exchange of data between individuals, organisations and governments alike.

As IoT momentum continues to gather pace, alliances and partnerships between various stakeholders along the IoT value chain will play an ever more critical link for growing market confidence and unlocking new commercial opportunities that these new technologies present. This is not about talking fridges. This is about systematic operability, artificial intelligence, machine automation and about how devices can and will change business models and supply chains.

We are at a pivotal point in the evolution of IoT and the UK needs to be ready to maximise the incredible potential of smart technology, and the essential role of IoT entrepreneurship in the UK’s future competitiveness cannot be underestimated.

It is through continuing to drive innovation at the local level that the UK will be in the best position to accelerate its path to global IoT leadership. By leveraging the wealth and diversity of talent across the nation, we will become better positioned to tell this story, raise understanding and bring solutions to market quickly and effectively as anticipated globally.

The IoTUK Boost programme is just one example of the way in which coordinated industry collaboration is accelerating the widespread adoption of IoT and developing new business opportunities in, and for, the UK.  Delivered in collaboration with local partners in communities and market clusters across the UK, and deployed in rapid speed to reflect the need for pace and energy, the programme is designed to solve real business problems pertaining to some of the IoT’s key challenges.

With the programme currently in full motion, IoTUK has selected Scottish based CENSIS, DataCity – Leeds, CW (Cambridge Wireless Ltd) and Sunderland Software City  who are working with local SMEs for access to business, technical and mentoring support to scale their IoT ideas from concept to creation. Moreover, these businesses will have the confidence that they are leading the next phase of IoT market development for their community, not to mention the nation at large.

The time is now for IoT to make use of it in everyday life a reality, not a pipedream in the UK. With innovation already flourishing throughout the nation, and across various industries and fields, we can now actively broaden industry engagement, provide a local and national platform for real solutions to be showcased, better broker between supply and demand in the IoT debate, and maximise the incredible potential of smart technology.

Paul Egan is IoTUK’s principal consultant