How many ‘things’ in the Internet of Things? Gartner reckons 4.9 billion connected devices will be in use in next year – up 30% on this year – reaching 25 billion by 2020. This spurt will power up the economic impact of the IoT as consumers, businesses, city authorities, hospitals et al find new ways in which to exploit the technology. Gartner reckons that the IoT will support total services spending of $69.5 billion in 2015, rising to a whopping $263 billion by 2020.
Future road surfaces could feature advanced solar panels that generate clean, renewable power and wirelessly charge electric cars as they drive, or are parked. These panels would also feature LED lighting and heating elements to melt snow, according to Arup’s Future of Highways report, which considers how developments such as rapid urbanisation, climate change, resource depletion and changes in human behaviour will shape our roads in 2050.
Sometimes much-hyped Buzzfeed just doesn’t measure up. A new Top 25 publishers list based on social affinity includes the venerable likes of The Economist, The Guardian, Vogue and The Financial Times, but Buzzfeed is nowhere to be seen. The results demonstrate the difference between ‘social velocity’ and ‘social affinity’ where many publications with a high volume of online users still lack a personal relationship with their readers, says Intent HQ, which carried out the survey.
The UK’s accelerators and incubators supported more than 1,100 start-ups in 2014. The average survival rate? Well, for these businesses it is an impressive 90%+ which is at a level almost 20 percentage points higher than for small businesses choosing to go it alone. And of the start-up programmes operating within the UK in 2014, more than half were launched within the last three years – representing a 110% increase since 2011, according to The Rise of the UK Accelerator and Incubator System report from O2.
Now Google is pushing the Open Web of Things, part of a drive towards the ‘connected society’. What does it mean? Well, it’s a lot do to with open standards and people being willing to share, of course, and in this case Google is in the midst of establishing an open innovation and research programme around the Internet of Things. The online giant is asking for research proposals relating to the IoT in user interface and app development, privacy and security, as well as systems and protocols research, saying it is open to ‘new and unorthodox’ solutions.
Start-up watch: If you’re part of the sharing economy which makes a bit of cash renting out a property, it’s not enough to simply lean on Airbnb alone. You need data. That’s where Beyond Pricing comes in. The number-crunching outfit wants to give rental owners the ability to tap into the same info that hotels and airlines use to determine pricing and maximise the performance of their sharing economy assets. In fact, Beyond Pricing views this as nothing less than the ‘democratisation of data’.
While Uber gets itself thrown off Spanish roads, Hailo is getting mileage out of Iberia with end-of-year sales growth of 200%. Hailo puts its success down to a focus on the business market, having signed up over 1,000 firms in one month – one of the company’s biggest coups is landing airline Iberia for business customers. Hailo points out that it has made efforts to build relationships with local drivers and taxi industry regulators.
The world is set to have some 450 million mobile payment users by 2017, up from 61 million last year. While Africa unsurprisingly accounts for around a half of all mobile money usage, one quarter of US and UK millennials made a payment using a mobile app in the last year, while 45% of that demographic is comfortable connecting payment information to a wearable device to make hassle-free payments. That’s according to the Looking Further with Ford: 2015 Trends report from Ford.