The UK technology industry needs a joined up approach to the Internet of Things (IoT) if it is to stay ahead of other nations, according to the chief executive of the Digital Catapult.
Neil Crockett said at an event at the Digital Catapult Centre in London, attended by V3, that the IoT will revolutionise the technology industry and that Britain needs to be at the forefront.
“This is an absolute full-out global race, not a ‘we’ll do our best’. And if the UK does not have a joined up approach to its research and its development work, and does not get large-scale test beds and demonstrators, we will lose that global race,” he said.
Crockett explained that businesses and the government can play a role in the UK’s development of the IoT.
“You have got to have investment by government and business in those big-skill IoT test beds. If you look around the world, India has just invested hundreds of millions of pounds in test beds,” he said.
“[The] Korean government has just invested in a whole region of Korea to put in test beds. Singapore is changing the whole country at a government level into test beds. China is doing the same in many cities.
“If we don’t take the opportunity, we’re going to once again create the ideas that everyone else commercialises. We’re not going to lead the next wave of the digital age, we’re just going to be its consumers.”
Crockett went on to explain how the Digital Catapult has brought hundreds of businesses and start-ups together since opening earlier this month.
V3 spoke to several start-ups involved in hardware, software, data and platforms relating to the IoT at the Digital Catapult, who are hoping to capatilise on this trend, which is set to dominate the IT market in the years ahead.
These included Transport API, which uses data gathered by the National Rail train and rail sensors to provide information when creating transport apps.
Another is Beacontent, which provides platform-agnostic wireless beacons for retail organisations to push data to smartphones for promotion and real-time marketing.
Thinkful is a start-up creating a platform that allows enterprises to sell data gathered from sensors and other networked devices within their organisation to other firms.
It effectively directly commercialises big data, rather than just using it to hone business operations.
As the IoT gathers pace and the government throws its weight behind the trend, it is likely that more IoT-focused start-ups will make the Digital Catapult their home.