The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world. It’s time for the UK to take notes from leading IoT nations and match (or exceed) their success.
Across the globe, countries are embarking on a journey towards a digitally advanced and hyper-connected world. The technology helping them on this journey? IoT.
Currently ranked fifth in the Global Connectivity Index, there’s a lot the UK can learn from its fellow and bettering nations – like Sweden and Estonia, who are achieving unimaginable market success via IoT.
We explore the five countries, fully embracing the IoT revolution, and what their respective governments are doing to support this movement. Learning from these case studies could not only be the key to unlocking the full potential of your business’ tech infrastructure, but the full potential of the UK’s connectivity.
USA: The Internet of Things in flight
Sitting at the top of the Global Connectivity Index is global giant, the USA. Much of this is to do with the countless developments that have reshaped its digital economy, like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
This sub-segment of IoT refers to data generated by industrial grade equipment – anything from wind turbines to medical devices. With the market predicted to surpass £1.19 trillion by 2020, there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to use this tech boom to their digital and economical advantage.
GE Digital was one of the first software companies to on-board the Industrial Internet. Today, they help industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and aviation to digitise their assets and gather data insights. For example, by developing IoT-sensored aircraft engines, they’re enabling airlines to predict catastrophic flight failure, assess fuel levels, develop real-time visibility into engine performance and track operational costs.
The IoT is helping businesses, across the USA, to improve their productivity, longevity and potentially save lives. Isn’t it time it reached across the pond and made its mark on UK soil?
Sweden: The cashless nation
In the UK, contactless cards account for approximately a third of all card purchases. Think this is impressive? Think again. When it comes to IoT-powered payments, the UK is in Sweden’s shadow.
In Sweden, cash is used in less than 20% of in-store transactions
With cash being used in less than 20% of in-store transactions, Sweden is the world’s most cashless society. Instead, shoppers are opting for contactless cards or wearables in support of their government’s initiative to create a safer society. In Sweden, IoT is gradually filling the void that coins and banknotes are leaving behind.
This transition to digital has enabled many smaller businesses to carve out a niche for themselves in their respective markets. For example, thanks to iZettle, the Swedish start-up behind Europe’s first mobile card reader, business owners can accept card and contactless payments – whenever and wherever.
iZettle is not only providing its customers with a smarter, faster and securer payment solution with IoT, it’s providing them unmissable sale and growth opportunities – especially for small businesses.
Japan: A hyper-connected travel solution
When it comes to mobile tech and internet usage, Japan has always been one step ahead of its global contenders. Why? Japan’s government works closely with its mobile and digital network providers to implement IoT-driven infrastructures.
Japan’s Shibuya Station is a prime example. The Shibuya district in Tokyo is a tourist magnet so, it’s no surprise that the station has more than one million people travelling through it every day. As if overcrowded platforms weren’t a problem in themselves, the Shibuya Station is a maze of eight train lines and pathways.
So, to help navigate commuters, Tokyo city has installed more than sixty Bluetooth devices in the station, which connect to users’ smartphones via an app to determine their position. Augmented Reality (AR) then overlays digital arrows on the app’s real-world map and points commuters in the direction of their desired destination.
In Japan’s capital, IoT has proven itself as more than a step for technology but a step for city management. And, with growing tourist numbers, it’s a good thing IoT innovations aren’t showing signs of slowing down.
South Korea: Owner of the Smart Home
Having invested in extensive technological research and development, South Korea has transformed into both an economic heavyweight and digital guru. Multinational, LG has played a key role in this transformation.
As part of their product offering, LG unveiled a selection of connected home appliances and HomeChat – a feature that merges Natural Language Processing (NLP) and mobile messaging to allow its users to communicate with, and monitor their IoT appliances.
With a simple text, homeowners can check the contents of their fridge, download recipes, turn on their washing machines and even command their vacuum to give their carpet a once-over. Whether they’re metres or miles away from their home, this can be done from anywhere, anytime.
South Korea is proof of how a government initiative can open doors for IoT. By championing this technology, the country is creating a strong foundation from which businesses can build their success.
Estonia: Lighting the future of IoT
Worldwide, Estonia is the only example of how a government can successfully move the bulk of its services to a single online platform – something the country calls e-Estonia.
As part of its initiative to pursue a 100% digitised society, more and more organisations are looking to technology to improve the country’s living environment. Like, Eliko. The IoT product and service company have developed a Smart Street in the city of Tallinn to gather information about the city’s electricity consumption, noise and traffic pollution and even rubbish levels.
Still in demo mode, Eliko’s Smart Street is a small step towards a Smart City. With further governmental investments in technology, Estonia could see huge improvements to its sustainability and economy.
Every country has a unique way of implementing and using IoT, and every country is at a different stage in their journey towards a fully connected nation. But, one thing unites them all – they’ve embraced IoT’s ability to revolutionise governmental and business landscapes.