The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the vision that the physical world of atoms and the digital world of bits will merge together and open up unprecedented opportunities for innovation. Physical objects such as wearable devices, manufacturing equipment and energy grids are just a few examples of the hundreds of objects being embedded with sensors and gaining the ability to communicate via wireless networks. This opens opportunities for completely new business models, improved manufacturing efficiencies and business processes.
Manufacturing is one industry that is likely to undergo significant changes. IoT has the potential to add as much as $6.2 trillion to the global economy annually by 2025 and 80-100% of all manufacturers will be using IoT applications by then, leading to potential economic impact of as much as $2.3 trillion for the global manufacturing industry alone.
To date, we have seen successful IoT applications primarily in wearable devices and home automation. In the UK, Ineda Systems is developing low power System on Chip (SoC) technology for use in wearable technology and IoT devices; Neura has developed software that connects smart devices and analyses user behavioural patterns to adapt how the devices work and Ayla Networks has developed IoT platform-as-a-service software for organisations that wish to connect up their devices. The number of things connected to the internet is growing at a rapid pace and it is expected that there will be as many as 50 billion connected devices by 2020.