Internet of things for smart cities

As part of its budget of £40 million to invest into research on the Internet of Things, the Conservative government announced a competition to reward £10 million to the best IoT project which will
benefit the urban environment, its citizens and the government. The initiative has been introduced to encourage local authorities to work with startups and third party agencies to think outside the box. The aim is to create new and innovative ideas to tackle problems that many urban areas face, like air quality, noise pollution, traffic congestion or crime.

This government’s investment in technological innovation will hope to encourage more public sector organisations, SME’s and large corporations to explore the potential of technology, especially the role that mobile and connecting IoT technologies play in this ever-changing world. The Internet of Things helps to provide remote or local context to the state of assets and drive better process intelligence. Smartphones are already enabling IoT, by facilitating the collection of better data about road traffic, micro-changes to the weather and in the home, through smart thermostats and sensors.

Mobile is already helping companies to make workforces more efficient when they are in the field or out of the office by putting a computer in their pocket. In engineering for example, with the ability to communicate with external sensor, driven by IoT, this connectivity will allow teams to gain better intelligence of their surroundings. This means that they are able to address potential problems before they happen, reducing costs, potential disruption or other issues.

Smartphones, tablets and even wearables have become more powerful devices than a desktop computer as they enable people to do their job more efficiently. The only way that companies can move forward and continue to compete and become leaders in their industries is to continue to invest in technology. IoT is about driving intelligence and the ability to remotely manage, diagnose and understand what is happening in real-time. It’s about looking at the future rather than reacting to the past.

We only have to look at the differences between software today and software before the Internet. The modern technology world has meant that we can continue to make improvements to software based on new technologies that can be distributed through the cloud. We are able to use insight to make changes to help make software run better, make it more useful and more powerful. We also know that every year, hardware gets more powerful and that there are more tools that we can use to make our lives easier. As these emerging technologies become further ingrained into our everyday lives, implementation and maintenance costs will be driven down.

Thanks to mobile technology, the world has never been better connected to access the information that is important to us. Tasks that used to take weeks or even months can now be done in a matter of seconds. IoT is extending this further to provide context to the world around us. Mobile is at the centre of all of this, by being able to deliver information to the people who need it, no matter where they are.

We are already seeing firms like British Gas looking to future with its roll out of Hive, helping to make energy consumption smarter and create a grid that is more efficient, lowering costs for customers. British Gas is just one example of a company that is embracing smart sensors to deliver improvements to its operations. This will help improve the customer experience, drive down costs and provide information to engineers on issues before they become critical problems.

The Internet of Things is driven by intelligence from data. As more companies realise the importance of big data and “pattern of life” analytics (POL), this will help to make processes even smarter by understanding past behaviour, determining current behaviour and predicting future behaviour.

The industrial revolution saw Britain put technology first, it made us truly great. We were a world leader for innovation and embracing change that ultimately led to the modern world. Though we are continuing to strive forward, businesses need to do more to ensure that Britain remains a place for innovation, which requires investing in new technologies, not relying on yesterday’s legacy. This will help us continue to find better ways of working and running organisations.

Technology once made us the most advanced nation on the planet. It’s time to do that again.

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