The internet of things (IoT) - the ubiquitous world interconnected by smart devices has certainly been one of the most hyped sectors of the digital economy. In case you missed it, here are a few things that caught my eye over the past few days: First up, was British Gas’ unveiling of its second generation Hive thermostat. The original was a fairly basic way of controlling your home heating system via your phone or computer, similar to Google’s Nest. The new version aims to go much deeper into your home and offers a broad array of sensors and functions. There are motion sensors, door and window sensors, controllable electric plugs and “active lights”. You can order yours here.
The IoT has gotten the Government’s attention. In the March budget announcement there was £40 million allocated to helping the and this week Innovate UK launched a £10 million pound competition to help spur smart cities. Of course there are a bunch of provisions, one being that it must be a collaborative project led by a local authority. However, eligible businesses could receive up to 70% of their project costs in the form of a grant. You can apply here.
And finally, tech giant Cisco announced that they would be investing an additional $1 billion in the UK into the IoT economy. For entrepreneurs, there is the tantalizing prospect that $150 million of that investment will be channeled to start-ups in this space. You can connect with Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) here.
By Ashok Parekh, Director of Investment Services