IoT – Internet of Things or Islands of Things?

The event at the London College of Fashion was organised by Cambridge Wireless


Speakers from Rolls Royce to the London College of Fashion worked to make sense of a world where everything is connected and data is shared at the latest Cambridge Wireless IoT event.

Will the Internet of Things deliver new insight and value by accumulating more data from more things or will we struggle to make any sense of a growing mass of information from unrelated sources? This was one of the questions addressed by speakers from industry and academia at the IoT – Internet of Things or Island of Things event hosted at techUk’s London meeting space on September 16, and run by the Cambridge Wireless (CW) Connected Devices Special Interest Group with techUK.

Speakers included Andy Harrison of Rolls Royce, Lynne Murray of the London College of Fashion, Stuart Revell of techUK, Thomas Roelleke of Queen Mary College London, Andy Salmon of Anglia Ruskin University, Che Smith of Virgin Media and Graeme Wright of Fujitsu.

“IoT offers vast potential to capture and gain value from future data streams, but what about the last 50 years of legacy data?” said Andy Harrison, engineering associate fellow – Life Cycle Engineering, at Rolls Royce.  “Can IoT technology be effectively applied to leverage our understanding of history, enabling organisations to gain more value from data they already possess?”

In contrast, Lynne Murray, director of the Digital Anthropology Lab at the London College of Fashion looked ahead to explore how the IoT may impact on our daily lives: “How can our bodies and the things we wear help us to explore new ways of being human and how can we design for the unknown?”

Andy Salmon, interim pro vice chancellor and dean at Anglia Ruskin University, added: “Essentially, I see the issue as a design challenge – not just technology to make us more human, but the same applied to education, business and start-up interfaces. Our new technologies are presenting us with new international paradigms we need to re-design.” Salmon and his team are currently exploring some of these challenges as part of Cambridge’s first international applied Games incubation centre, REACTOR, supported by the European Union.

“As with the adoption of the Internet over the last 20+ years and how it changed and still is changing business models, the IoT will drive the next wave of innovation and change in almost every sector and every activity of human life,” said  Graeme Wright, associate director, Utilities, Fujitsu UK & Ireland. “Keeping these focused on delivering benefits to society is going to be critical.”

Also speaking at the event, Che Smith, head of Advanced Technology and Business Innovation, Virgin Media Business focused on innovation in the public sector and outlined some of the trials Virgin Media is running using sensors and data to meet public sector challenges. This included projects in education, health, transport and smart cities.

Stuart Revell, CTO at techUK who hosted the event, believes that the UK is in a strong position to drive the IoT industry: “The UK is uniquely placed to be at the heart of the Internet of Things revolution,” he said: “To realise the opportunities these technologies present we must take a co-ordinated approach between industry and government to ensure a regulatory environment that supports innovation and growth across the country.”

“The Internet of Things is set to change society in profound and positive ways,” said Peter Whale, director of Product Marketing at Iotic Labs and board member at Cambridge Wireless. “For the first time in human history we are now able to ‘join the dots’ between everyday objects and the data about them – data which has until now been stuck and underused within a multitude of organisations. I believe the future is about creating communities of unrelated things, and unlocking this huge potential for innovation. Whilst we all seek the benefits of a ubiquitously connected world, many also fear the consequences of sharing data, so we must provide leadership in how to harness the enormous potential to deliver exciting, valuable and trustworthy services.”

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