Predicting the future is not easy, but we are now creating things that will change the way we live our daily lives in future. With the manufacture of smart products growing, this future is not far-off, but imminent. Some of it is happening right now.
“This is what we call the internet of things (IoT),” explains Jeremy Hacking of Finch Electronics. “It’s where the internet is no longer restricted to computers and mobile devices, but is now enabling a whole range of physical devices, and environments to become smart and interactive.”
Why Does the Internet of Things Matter?
The internet of things is already having some impact on everyday life in the UK. It is used in some homes to help regulate heating and energy use. Think of the smart technology controlling thermostats through mobile devices.
This efficient aspect is the key to the promise it holds for many politicians, economists and industry experts.
“The internet of things offers scalable solutions, so while we might think the smart fridge is hardly essential right now, in the future we could be looking at smart cities, filled with smart buildings”
What the smart city implies is improved efficiency, from utility use – when to empty refuse – to tracking parts for industry. The means of doing this will be shared, connected data.
“It is still early days,” Jeremy remarks, “which is why there is as much focus on novelty items and gadgets as practicality, but we shouldn’t underestimate the implications for UK manufacturers.”
How Smart is Manufacturing?
Manufacturers themselves may be underestimating the potential of the internet of things.
A study from the SAP software corporation polled 100 senior executives in UK manufacturing and nearly a fifth of them expected no investment in IoT in 2017. Where there is investment in IoT, it only amounts to an average of 8% in most budgets.
“There are challenges in adopting IoT, ranging from lack of awareness and understanding, to concern over current internet speeds in the UK”
However, as Jeremy highlights, there is also a growing recognition of IoT’s potential to become a valuable source of growth, benefiting business across sectors.
“The mission must be to educate more business leaders about the benefits, in improving productivity, opening new revenue stream, while making operational savings and reducing downtime,” he concludes.
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