The Internet of things, or the new digital life of everyday objects: from smart cities – the management of city services (parking, transportation, illumination, etc.) – to smart cars (a car connected to other cars and infrastructures), intelligent meters, and the automatic management of buildings to ensure comfort and savings, and much, much more. The Politecnico di Milano has organized the data (gathered by research managers Giovanni Miragliotta and Angela Tumino) on the continuously increasing diffusion of this trend in Italy. In 2013, over 36 million electric Smart Meters and over 2 million connected cars were counted. The number of interconnected things on the cellular network reaches 6 million: a market worth 900 million euros.
Reviewing the various sectors, the predominant one is the Smart car
, with applications that allow for the elaboration of routes, localization, assistance, and techniques. The European legislation eCall
, which states that starting in 2015 all vehicles must be equipped with automatic emergency calling
, will help stimulate further development. Automobiles already connected in Italy are only 8%: by 2016 this should reach 20%.
Changes are eminent for Smart homes & buildings, which offers solutions for the comfort and security of structures. Worldwide, startups that work in this sector have quadrupled over the past two years. What is their mission? To allow us to manage our homes via mobile or tablet. Estimates for Italy are a connection of over 3 million domestic products by 2016.
On the public sector front, the Internet of Things means, above all, Smart Cities, which in turn signifies the management of traffic, waste collection (identification of waste containers, management of collection activities) andintelligent public lighting (remote monitoring and control of streetlights). The crisis, unfortunately, has impeded big investments for administrations. Excluding the money from financed projects, the solutions for intelligent cities have attracted 65 million euros. In Italy, the majority are experimental applications, over one third of which financed by EU and national funds. Abroad, innovation is moving much faster, sustained by a better partnership between public and private. The tendency is, more than ever, that of multifunctionality: centralized management for many different operations. The Compass 4D project in Verona, where vehicles are connected to stoplights for smoother traffic flow and increased safety, is an example of this.
And how are startups moving within the universe of daily digital life? Over half are geared towards the business
market (57%), less for consumers (37%), and the smallest percentage for developers (6%). But the consumer world, based on applications for mobile apparatuses, is in rapid expansion. With two principal directions: Smart Homes & Buildings (as mentioned above) and Wearable Objects
, which includes the most varied examples: from clothes that supply data on one’s own movements (like Italian made Sensoria
, and bracelets that measure emotions calledEmpatica
) to diapers that can prevent illnesses among newborns. It is important not to underestimate the Internet of Things. Just remember Nest Labs,
the intelligent thermostat and smoke detector producers who recently became the largest acquisition made by Google after Motorola.