The U.K. government will spend an extra £45 million ($75 million) on the Internet of Things (IoT) sector, in an attempt to put the country at the forefront of a technology-led “industrial revolution,” Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
The cash injection will fund research into the Internet of Things, which pictures the world and everything in it connected to the Internet. The U.K. has now invested a total of £73 million into research in this area.
“I see the Internet of Things as a huge transformative development – a way of boosting productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs, tackling climate change,” Cameron said as he arrived at the CeBIT 2014 trade event in Germany.
“These are developments that could allow literally billions of everyday objects to talk to each other over the Internet using low-cost, low-power chips,” he added.
Cameron plans to combine German engineering with British ingenuity to spur an IoT revolution. He wants the countries to lead Europe on the charge towards ubiquitous connectivity.
A report from last December by research firm Gartner predicted the Internet of Things market would be worth $309 billion by 2020, and those with vested interest in the business have been even bolder with their estimates. Cisco CEO John Chambers declared the sector will create $19 trillion in economic value recently at the Mobile World Congress, although he didn’t reveal how he had arrived at that figure.
Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Google and AT&T have all made moves into the Internet of Things space, and Google in particular made headlines when it acquired Nest Labs earlier this year for $3.2 billion. In the U.S., funding in the Internet of Things industry has largely come from corporate investors. Research from VC data company CB Insights reveals Intel Capital as the most active investor in the field, ahead of True Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Cisco Investments. Kleiner Perkins, which was an early investor in Nest Labs, rounds out the top five.
Seeing industry titans throw huge amounts of money into the Internet of Things sector may have moved the U.K. government to help its economy capitalize. Many experts declared 2014 to be the year of the Internet of Things – investments like those from the United Kingdom will secure that title.