The United Kingdom’s technological innovation arm is offering a huge cash reward up for grabs to companies pioneering the Internet of Things. Innovate UK is prepared to award up to £10 million and is particularly interested in solutions in the areas of healthcare, energy, and transportation.
It’s part of a broader and much more ambitious investment in the burgeoning technological area on the part of the UK government. Back in March, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced it would pour £40 million into R&D in the sector, and indeed this new contest from Innovate UK is drawing from that cash pool.
It’s an investment that could pay off, if it manages to push the UK into a leading position in the IoT market; the Telegraph reports that Arup has estimated the sector will be worth £255 per annum by 2020, while a recent report from IDC predicted that the overall market will be worth $1.7 trillion by that same year. These are pretty significant differences but like most of the current prognostications, they point to massive growth.
Of course, with great opportunity comes great risk, and in this case there is serious concern about threats to both security and user privacy. Rebecca Burn-Callander in The Telegraph notes that HP Security Research has estimated that about 70 percent of the most popular IoT devices bring with them “serious security vulnerabilities.” Meanwhile, US legislators are starting to get serious about exploring the potential privacy risks involved in the IoT, a concern that has long tormented the country’s Federal Trade Commission.
Nevertheless, it seems there is no stopping the emergence of the Internet of Things, and while regulation and security are important, the British government is wise to try to get a leg up in the innovation department while those issues are sorted out.
Source: The Telegraph