ARM, known for its semiconductor intellectual property (IP) provision and development of digital electronic products, has announced that it has invited some of the UK’s leading specialist technology companies to establish the UK’s first industry forum to help shape the Internet of Things.

The forum will include lighting technology company EnLight, white space signal innovators Neul, home energy management tech firm Alertme and AquaMW which develops intelligent cloud sensing technologies.

The forum hopes to combat what it describes as the ‘Internet of Silos’. By this it means ‘an unconnected world with less value to both consumers and businesses’.

The group will drive a blueprint for how technologies associated with the Internet of Things should and could work together. It predicts that 50 billion intelligent devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. So it’s high time a plan was in place to see how this might be more cohesive.

The Internet of Things can be loosely described as networked items or objects (“things”), such as cars, fridges, lampposts…you name it, that talk to each other and communicate with the world around them. The term was first used by tech pioneer Kevin Ashton in 1999.

The UK has already invested in the Internet of Things. Earlier this year a £500,000 project was launched as part of government-backed initiative to encourage the formation of an ‘Internet of Things ecosystem’ of applications and services.

Connected futures

ARM feels that by 2020 everything that can benefit from an Internet connection will have one. That’s a slightly frightening prospect when not thought through, but there is a great deal of potential for smart networks to be very useful.

Linking more objects to the Internet can mean more cohesive data sharing, better organisation for emergency situations, extreme weather or simply individuals taking advantage of the information around them to improve daily living.

The forum’s founding members are all involved in advanced technology and solutions associated with the Internet of Things, including commercial infrastructure monitoring, energy-saving street lighting, home automation, energy monitoring and low power radio technology for sensors.

Their aim is to work together to develop public policies and standards designed to create the right framework to help governments and others ensure that the Internet of Things works properly, across the globe, and to gain the confidence of consumers and businesses.

The first forum will meet 24th August in the UK and will be chaired by Gary Atkinson, who leads the Internet of Things initiative at ARM.

“In the next five years, over £2.4 billion will be spent in the UK on smart home energy management devices, ranging from smart meters themselves to in-home devices that are connected to them. This is a great example of an Internet of Things application, but is only a fraction of the market that will open up over the next 15-20 years,” said Atkinson. “There are massive opportunities for the UK and the industry as a whole in this market, but that requires a common approach to infrastructure and systems to enable the Internet of Things. ”

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