Internet of Things

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Dr John Riley is passionate about improving the innovation process, having first hand experience of large enterprises, small business, academia, and government. As Managing Editor of Computer Weekly (1992-2008) he championed true business value from IT and founded the CW500 Club for IT Directors. He was until recently Strategic Advisor to Erudine, an early adopter of agile technology, campaigning for the wider UK SME community. He was a founder of the UK Innovation Initiative and is active across the IT community.

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China: Why Internet of Things awareness should be on your corporate due diligence agenda

Eight out of the nine top Chinese leaders have engineering degrees, can the UK say that?

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I've started this blog on the Internet of Things for one main reason. It's down to my surprise and concern about the lack of real urgency and the low level of awareness I see around me among corporate leaders and in government of this looming revolution that will transform all our lives.

One factor alone - China - should be making western political and business leaders wake up, sit up, take notice and put the “Internet of Things” firmly into all their political and corporate business planning cycles.

The outgoing Chinese Politburo certainly recognised the transformative impact of billions of cheap, small, very smart, intercommunicating sensor devices - the miniature building blocks of the Internet of Things.

This is about the capability of every object to have a unique identifier (URL) using chip, sensor and communications technology to intercommunicate with its environment, other objects and living things (including humans) - and also to make autonomous decisions. This'll be hugely disruptive to us all.

The technology embracing Chinese government is now three years into building its Internet of Things programme which last year it reckoned to grow annually at 30% to become a £48bn market within China by 2013..

The Chinese Politburo are more than just engineering savvy - 8 out of the 9 top Chinese leaders have engineering degrees, and most have associated industrial experience. And don't forget that engineers know how to plan for the long term and also how to complete projects successfully.

More than that, since the 2008 Beijing Olympics the Chinese government has also been forging ahead with the new generation Internet addressing system (IPv6) which allows those billions of devices to be given individual Internet addresses (URLs) - i.e. separate identities. Whereas Western companies and agencies are finding every excuse for hanging onto IPv4 Internet addressing which is just about full up with no scope for expansion.

All this is global and will impact every business and government, wherever they area. So it is a breach of due diligence for any business leader to impatiently shrug off incorporating the Internet of Things into their forward planning. If there's one thing that should make any decision maker worth their salary sit up and take note, it's to follow China's example and take the Internet of Things seriously.

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