Unlocking the potential of the internet of things

The internet of things is driven by the notion that by connecting something – anything – online, you open up huge potential to automate the transmission of information and allow the vast scope of the human world to become faster and more efficient. You are probably already familiar with the internet of things, even if you don’t know it. That Nest thermostat alerting you on your mobile that the house could do with a burst of central heating? Or that contactless terminal where you paid for your morning coffee at the station, from an artisan espresso machine in the back of a van? That’s the internet of things in action. The internet of things holds huge potential for lots of businesses, but it is not always clear how best to utilise new technologies like this. That is why Vodafone is taking it upon itself to make the internet of things a possibility for businesses in the UK today. The potential is huge because the internet of things is so far reaching and the need to underpin technologies is so critical. The appeal for businesses outside the telecoms space is that the internet of things can help them become better at what they do, irrespective of their industry. “For the business world, the internet of things is at least initially going to be about productivity improvements,” says technology consultant William Webb. “It is a way of doing what you are doing what you are doing now, but with less people, or less machinery.” Interestingly, the benefits of the internet of things will be sorely in demand thanks to the proliferation of internet-enabled devices occuring at the same time. More than 4 billion people use the internet today, with 31 billion internet of things devices already active, proving just how many systems are already online without regular human hands upon them. According to The Telegraph, by 2020 there will be more than 50 billion devices, all offering huge potential for the businesses able to optimise their use and leverage their immense computing power.