Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer has unveiled the government’s new budget, and it includes a substantial amount of money for the tech industry and the Internet of Things in particular, according to an article by Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian. The budget provides £40 million for the Internet of Things, along with £600 million allocated to increasing the availability of the wireless broadband spectrum.
The government plans to invest the £40 million in research hubs and startups working in the general IoT field including social care, healthcare, and “smart cities” projects. Those working in these areas have been quick to express their approval of the investment, with the director of one major national research centre commenting that the funds will lead to “collaboration between innovators, organisations and academics who, together, can put the UK at the forefront of a new wave of business models that will make the UK more competitive”. Indeed, there is a huge amount of buzz over the Internet of Things, with a number of connected products already in the pipeline, from voice-controlled car systems to self-learning AI toys.
Of course, there are those expressing caution about the investment, and that tends to revolve around security concerns. Gibbs quotes one cybersecurity expert as warning that the IoT will lead to a “whole new playing field of vulnerabilities”, adding that “it is imperative that the funding allocated by the government not only supports the opportunities posed by the internet of things but addresses the inevitable risks.”
That is undoubtedly important, and indeed there are solutions available that are constantly being refined, such as biometric security, which is often touted as a major tool to help mitigate these risks. The British government is right to embrace the new IoT technologies, but it will be equally prudent to embrace the security solutions associated with them.