Press release

Vision set for UK to become a world leader in the internet of things

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new report by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser says that we are on the verge of a new digital revolution.

Figure representing the Internet of Things

Taking the lead in developing the internet of things could transform the way we live and deliver significant benefits to the economy, according to a report published today (18 December 2014) by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

The internet of things - where digital networks are connecting everyday objects so data can be shared - creates enormous opportunities for both the private sector and government. It also has the potential to be applied in many areas of everyday life, transforming the way we use energy, how we travel and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The number of connected devices could potentially reach up to 100 billion globally by 2020 and industry estimates also suggest that these technologies could have a global value of nearly £10 trillion by then.

The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Mark Walport, said:

We will only get the best from these technologies if academics, business leaders and government work together to ensure they deliver the greatest possible benefit to the public. This is why an advisory board would be able to lead on unlocking the full potential of these technologies.

Minister for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin commented:

The Internet of Things will be an economic powerhouse for the UK with millions of connections unlocking billions of pounds from tech and services. This is an incredible opportunity and it’s incumbent on all of us - government, industry and the UK research base - to make sure we exploit this opportunity as effectively as possible.

Some of the review’s findings include:

  • government should support the development of standards that are open, interoperable and secure
  • an Internet of Things Advisory Board, bringing together private and public sectors should be created to allow for greater coordination of funding and support for the relevant technologies
  • government should work with industry and international partners to agree best security and privacy principles
  • open data sharing across all public bodies and regulated industries should enable the innovative use of real-time public data
  • the connectivity and continuity of devices can be maximised by working in partnership with industry, the regulator and academia
  • government, the education sector and businesses should prioritise efforts to supply capable data scientists through school learning and tertiary education

The review states that we are on the verge of a new digital revolution. There is a real opportunity for government to work with the UK’s best educators, scientists, engineers, designers and manufacturers to ensure that the UK plays a leading role.

Notes to editors

  1. The report ‘The internet of things: making the most of the second digital revolution’ can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/internet-of-things-blackett-review.
  2. A report by the Hammersmith Group expects that 100 billion devices will be connected globally by 2020. www.thehammersmithgroup.com/images/reports/networked_objects.pdf.
  3. Cisco estimates that the global value of internet of things will be £9.6 trillion in 2020. www.cisco.com/web/about/ac79/docs/innov/IoE_Economy.pdf.
Published 18 December 2014