The noise around Internet of Everything (IoE - also known as Internet of Things) has been growing louder in the past few years, and now networking giant Cisco has picked out some areas where UK businesses could turn that hype into real, palm-crossing dollars (or pounds, in this case).
According to the company's new report, titled:
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It says that around 50 billion "things" will be connected to the internet globally by 2020, creating a $19 trillion (around £11 trillion) opportunity for businesses around the world.
According to the report, a huge opportunity exists within healthcare in the UK due to more than 10 million residents being over the age of 65.
Cisco says that the provision of "reliable and trustworthy" communications technology lies at the heart of healthcare. By giving patients the ability to manage their own health conditions, while providing up-to-date monitoring in real time, it reckons that the standard of care could be improved while lowering costs.
In the transport sector, the report says that smart cities will be transformed by connections and the "intelligent engineering" of transport routes, in addition to the monitoring of infrastructure conditions using real-time data, which will allow travelers to plan journeys using apps.
The UK could also use IoE to make up a predicted 10% energy shortfall expected by 2015 through the use of smarter devices - like Google's NEST thermostat - which are less wasteful due to the measurable use of energy.
Finally, Cisco reckons that IoE can bring consumers back to the high street by combining their online and physical presences, which will allow them to connect with and gather business intelligence on their consumers, in addition to providing a means to promote their businesses.
Speaking at a Cisco CREATE event that saw the unveiling of the report, Phil Smith, CEO at Cisco's UK arm, said that IoE presented "huge" opportunities as just 0.4% of things that can be connected to the Internet currently are.
"The ability to connect to what we are describing 'Internet of Everything' is not just about 'things', but also the processes, people and data," he said. "This allows us to take it from simply a world of humans to machines, or machines to machines, to the Internet of Things and into a world where processes and data are changing everything we do."