What’s It All About?
In the past, the internet was primarily accessed through browsers on phones and desktop computers, but now more and more devices you encounter in everyday life, such as fridges, cars or tv’s are connected to the internet. This interconnected web of devices is termed the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things (or IoT for short) is a network of physical objects that contain internet-aware technologies. So many objects (or things) we use daily contain an internet component: computers, smart phones, network connected TVs, smart appliances, your car, wearable fitness trackers. These physical ‘things’ are integrated into our lives and communicate with each other without requiring any human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Some people call it “M2M” or Machine-to-Machine. Essentially, the idea is that these devices will be able to, and oftentimes already can, identify themselves to other devices and work with each other to communicate and perform certain functions.
Having read this explanation you have probably realised that you are engaging with IoT every day. But did you know how fast the IoT sector is growing and how well positioned Ireland is to become a world-renowned centre for IoT?
Internet of Things in Ireland
Ireland has become a world class leader in the development of IoT. National Geographic have recognised Ireland’s innovative work in this field and named Dublin as the world capital for IoT. This is no mean feat. Our success has emerged from a confluence of the right environment, the right people and the right industries.
ICT is a thriving sector in Ireland. With eight of the top ten global software companies and nine of the top ten US tech companies choosing to locate here, Ireland has become a hotbed for ICT innovation. Ireland is at the cutting edge of IT and we are the technical hub of Europe.
IoT relies on the collection and analysis of data. Ireland is a premier location for data centres due to our air-cooling climate. This coupled with fast and affordable broadband has attracted data centres from various companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Intel and Amazon. On top of that Ireland hosts analytical data centres established by companies such as Accenture, Aon, SAS and SAP.
The importance of research in IoT has been recognised in Ireland; research centres such as CRANN AMBER, Tyndall and Insight (the largest publicly funded Research and Development centre in Europe) are all developing technology to support the IoT industry.
All of these elements have created an environment that has lent itself to the development of IoT.
Having the right people has also been key to our success in IoT. The ICT workforce in Ireland is held in high esteem by foreign companies. The workforce is known to be young, English speaking, highly educated and skilled.
Ireland’s booming ICT sector has led to sizable homegrown talent that has produced indigenous IoT companies such as Grasp Wearable Technologies, Decawave and S3 Group. The multinational companies based here that are involved in IoT development include: PCH, Vodafone, SAP, Analog Devices and EMC. The location of so many IoT companies in Ireland has created the right industry for this sector to continue to grow here.
Skills and Knowledge
Having a good understanding of computer hardware, software and networking is fundamental to IoT. In order to design devices and systems you must have a good foundational knowledge of technology.
Making sense of data informs the development of IoT. Having the ability to read and interpret data in a meaningful way is an essential foundation for working in IoT. IoT is all about collection, storage and analysis of streams of data from smart devices to improve and grow businesses, so its advantageous to have good business acumen
Building an IoT system requires a team effort. Engineers, designers and developers work together to create an effective functioning system. Good communication and teamwork are required to bring it altogether.