Walking the Road to Digitisation – the Opportunity of IoE for UK Start-ups
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Walking the Road to Digitisation – the Opportunity of IoE for UK Start-ups

Phil Smith
Author: Phil Smith April 07, 2015

Whatever else March is, it certainly can’t be accused of being uneventful for UK start-ups. Last week’s budget proved promising for the community, highlighting the government’s intention to provide further investment and support to drive growth for small businesses around the country.

Location, as they say, can be everything. To accelerate growth in the North, the budget outlined an £11 million investment in government support for the development of tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – which will undoubtedly help drive further innovation across the country, and is a move that is symbiotic to our own efforts to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration across the UK, particularly through our National Virtual Incubator programme.

The budget also made mention of a topic particularly close to Cisco’s heart; announcing that the government will invest £40 million in the Internet of Things (IoT). The two announcements together prove particularly timely for us, as last week we launched a report examining the opportunity for start-ups in the Internet of Everything (IoE).

At Cisco, we estimate that today, less than one percent of what can be connected to the Internet is. As all industries and sectors become digital, there are touch points for the Internet in places that would never previously have been imaginable. When we talk about the Internet of Everything, it is exactly that – connecting everything – not just things and devices, but new digital processes in your supply chain, or connecting your business data that once resided on paper and is now digital so can help provide intelligence back into your organisation.

Point in any direction and you can see that there is a benefit to be had from connecting unconnected people, processes, data and things. According to our calculations, the Internet of Everything could generate over £100billion of value in the next decade for key sectors in the UK – an opportunity that is open to start-ups to capitalise upon.

We’ve highlighted the four sectors that we see as having a clear demonstrable benefit to the UK economy in the near-term. To illustrate, we believe that the healthcare industry currently has the greatest opportunity, with the scope to generate over £48 billion in the next decade through innovations in the IoE. The retail industry is not far behind at £37 billion, with big gains also to be made in transport (£11 billion) and energy (£7 billion).

As such, it’s apparent that not one industry or business alone will benefit. Almost everywhere opportunity awaits – not just in tech-friendly vertical sectors such as energy and retail but in arts and entertainment, manufacturing, agriculture, waste management and financial services.

We’re so sure that these opportunities abound, that this year we’re quite literally putting our money behind it as we launch the Cisco BIG Awards, part of the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme. The BIG awards aim to recognise up-and-coming innovators and entrepreneurs from across the UK who are focused on solving challenges with the Internet of Everything. Successful start-ups will not only benefit from cash prizes, but access to a full array of Cisco and supporting partner capabilities from technology to business development, with potential investment and future partnering opportunities.

As a Cisco-led, UK-wide programme, through BIG, we aim to inspire a new generation of businesses and offer practical help, mentoring and advice, with the specific goal of accelerating innovation and growth with a significant impact on the SME sector.

We firmly believe that no one will win in the Internet of Everything alone. It’s through collaborative initiatives like these that we stand the best chance of unlocking the true potential and driving the digitisation and transformation of the UK economy as we know it.

If you’re a start-up with or a challenge that you think you can solve through the Internet of Everything, we’d love to hear from you – please do get in touch.

This blog was reposted at the permission of Cisco and was originally posted on LinkedIn.