Recent investments, acquisitions, analyst reports and collaborations have accelerated the momentum for the Internet of Things.  Large companies have issued predictions on the size of the market, released developer tools for future applications, but the question remains, what does the Internet of Things really look like – like in real life, not just in theory.

“Intel Inside…Your City”

dublin_image_ccIntel has an answer. Last week the semiconductor giant announced a $5 billion investment in Ireland to make Dublin, “the most densely sensored city in the world.” The project named “Global Demonstrator for Smart City Sensors” will use Quark-based Gateway platforms. This deployment of sensors will be to provide environmental data, like noise and air quality. In effect, Intel, in collaboration with the city of Dublin, is developing the world’s first “Smartly Green City.”

What does a “City of Sensored Things” look like?

  • 200 Intel Gateway platforms will be placed throughout the city
  • Each Gateway can support up to six sensors
  • Intel will deploy a wide-scale IoT research platform in the city
  • Data from the sensors will be available to citizens and other stakeholders

A critical component to building a Smart-Dublin is the wide-scale IoT research platform to connect all the Gateways. This investment is a great illustration of the IoT Ecosystem in action: sensors (Things) working with Gateways (Technology) that connect to a network (Infrastructure) to collect and distribute data (Software) to citizens.

Another company is working hard to make IoT a reality is United Kingdom startup 1248. The company, which recently received funding from entrepreneur Rob Dobson, helps companies connect their products to the internet without having to build out the costly infrastructure themselves.

What makes 1248 especially interesting and critical for the U.K.’s leadership in the space is the company is part of a project funded by the government’s Technology Strategy Board to create an open standard for IoT software and applications. England is yet another country to see the value in funding its technology industry to harness the tremendous value of IoT. Prime Minister David Cameron pledged more than £45m to help companies in this endeavor.

And, it’s not just the U.K. tech industry that’s pushing hard to innovating Things. Last week, Virgin Atlantic Airways and SITA received the Smart Technology Award from The Wearables 2014 for the company’s Concierges’ use of Google Glass and Sony Smartwatches in its Upper Class Wing to serve passengers in a high-tech and personalized service.

With Industry and Government Support the U.K. is Clearly Winning

Not so fast. Reporter Ben Rossi of Information Age, uncovered that organizations in the U.K. are not ready for wearables, much less a full Internet of Things. Rossi obtained a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and learned that, “88% of local authorities, 85% of government departments, 83% of NHS trusts and 76% of universities admit to having no plan for wearable technology in place.” So, maybe not all organizations are ready for the coming surge of devices.

And a favorite author of mine, Charles Arthur, reports that American consumers are abandoning their Wearable technology just after 6 months of use. Arthur notes the trend is also true for U.K. consumers. He points to research from CSS Insight which found that, “of more than 1,500 smartphone owners in the US and UK that 65% had heard of smartwatches, and more than 50% knew about fitness trackers; but of those who owned either, 40% had stopped using them because they got bored with the idea, or simply forgot to put it on.”

Not Wearing the Crown Just Yet

Clearly, the U.K. has great momentum in establishing itself as a technology leader in IoT. However, with China’s continued commitment to building an industry and news of that IoT is growing in Australia, calling a winner may be premature.

With Government and Industry aligned on a goal, the U.K. as a bright and connected future ahead of it.