The internet of things describes the situation of everyday objects connected to the internet, participating together in a system. Currently there is no standard by which these objects, or things, can communicate with one another, a mandatory feature of an ecosystem that seeks to become independent of humans (who have limited time, attention and accuracy) for its data.
In the same way that Sir Tim Berners-Lee's world wide web specification unlocked the potential of the internet, the Hypercat specification will unlock the full potential of the internet of things by creating a world wide web for machines. This will irreversibly change how, why and in what way we all work and play, bringing with it pivotal changes in industry and business structures.
Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, estimates that by 2020, the global economic gain to industry as a result of IoT engagement will be $1.9 trillion across multiple sectors; manufacturing, healthcare and finance benefiting the most.
Although there has been much media focus on smart fridges and the like, the reach of IoT is limitless. Motorists could benefit from far cheaper insurance if their vehicles were constantly transmitting positioning data, as risk assessment would be individually focused and in real-time. Weather forecasters could take advantage of temperature and pressure readings from anyone with a mobile phone, providing local, up-to-the-minute information to inform their decisions. Traffic congestion in cities could be dramatically reduced through dynamic control of traffic lights based on actual vehicle flow. National energy usage could be brought right down if heating and lighting systems were only on when actually necessary, reducing reliance on imported fuels. This is all before we even consider the knock-on effects of increased efficiencies in industry as a whole.
Recently at the CeBIT technology trade fair in Germany, David Cameron highlighted the £45m that the Technology Strategy Board has committed to developing IoT technology. The Technology Strategy Board's funding of Hypercat demonstrates the Government’s commitment to a UK drive in the IoT revolution. This not-for-profit project’s focus is on collaboration rather than control.
While it is clear that Hypercat is not the only player seeking to create an IoT standard, Flexeye CEO Justin Anderson is positive that the consortium's inclusive approach will bring huge benefits to the UK industry and economy:
‘As new entrants to the IoT market strive to deliver revolutionary solutions at an extraordinary pace, Hypercat will ensure that these players can securely speak a common language. The UK has an opportunity now, through HyperCat, to be central to the IoT revolution, levelling the playing field with the ubiquitous American giants and inspiring British industry to deliver £100 billion of value by 2020 – Great Britain can grow back its industrial teeth. The Government’s investment of £1.6 million will support the UK economy by creating new jobs and attracting foreign investment to our shores.’