A future where everything is connected and everyday items have the built-in intelligence to talk to each other is here. We debated what this means in a roundtable discussion.
The internet is entering a new phase. Two billion people are already online, and now objects are getting connected too. Computer chips in cars, buildings and everyday items such as clothes, accessories, watches and fridges are creating a world where objects can talk to one another digitally. This is the internet of things, the internet of everything, where billions of devices can hook up.
Examples include the Hive thermostat from British Gas, which allows users to control their heating and hot water from their mobile phones, and the activity trackers from San Francisco-based company Fitbit. But these are just the start. From apps that direct drivers to parking spaces, to smart cities that regulate themselves using digital data, the internet of everything is unleashing a wave of innovation. All this is giving a boost to startup ventures and creating new business models for small and medium-sized enterprises. But how can these businesses make the most of the internet’s evolution and harness the data provided?