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Exploring the Internet of Things

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“A second digital revolution”, that’s what the Chief Scientific Advisor called the Internet of Things in his report in December. Rapid growth in devices connected to the internet – or networked in their own right – are certainly helping to make the internet a more visible presence in our lives.

We’re starting some work with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that builds on the report, to find out how we can use our role in government to help in the field; what are the most effective things we can do to help the sector grow and make sure these platforms are valuable for end users and businesses alike.

We’re approaching the work the same way we approach service design; start with a discovery, try an alpha, and learn as we go. For the discovery we’re joined by Matt Webb, best known as a co-founder of BERG.

Matt Webb

BERG were a design consultancy responsible for the first magazine on the iPad, the Little Printer – one of the world’s first consumer Internet of Things devices – and Berg Cloud, a platform for prototyping IOT products. Matt was also one of the people involved in the Tech City push, something that happened as GDS was starting to take shape.

Matt, Hadley Beeman and the rest of the team have already started talking to people inside and outside government about how we can encourage industry to innovate, and about our own networks of things and approaches to development; procurement, commissioning, maintenance... the everyday things that support the technology of tomorrow. Double-page spreads of “smart cities” and people covered in sensors have their place, but we need to work out what the mundane reality of networked devices looks like.

Matt’s experience in the sector will be hugely valuable as we explore what our role in IOT might be. Not only is he familiar with the industry, but he can look at public sector technology with fresh eyes to see where we might open it up for everyone’s benefit.

Open, interoperable and flexible technologies have made a huge difference to the quality and scale of digital transformation. Those aren’t just qualities of the software either – being open about how we build, develop and maintain services has been critical to our success.

The same values have a place in the technologies around us too. Would an open, interoperable Internet of Things help the sector grow? How can we encourage that growth, and where might we lead the way?

I’m looking forward to seeing what Matt and the team finds. If you’d like to get involved email

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