The Internet of Things is a collective term for everyday devices with built-in internet connectivity. This connectivity allows the devices to be controlled remotely and to send and receive data. The technology is expected to affect and streamline a large number of areas, especially in our homes. Groth & Co has assisted Telia with patent work in this fast-growing technology area.

The Internet of Things is often shortened to IoT. The term was coined in 1999 by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton. But as early as 1982 there was an online vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, USA.

Today we are used to having a number of appliances that are connected to the internet, such as computers, tablets, smartphones etc. But with IoT, the idea is for the internet connection to be extended to include  objects that we have not previously thought of as internet connected. These can include household appliances, clothes and accessories, but also vehicles, machines and entire buildings. The internet connection allows the objects to be managed remotely, as well as communicating and exchanging data with other connected objects. This creates opportunities for automation and efficiency.

The ability to connect many things to the internet has, of course, stemmed from the technological development of high-speed wireless internet connection. But technical development in the hardware and software of objects has also been important for the development of the Internet of Things.

There are many application areas for connected objects. For individuals this can be the smart clock that tells you when in the day you are most productive, the fact that you can turn on the heating in your car before getting into it, or the refrigerator telling you when you’re out of milk. For social actors, these can include systems with sensors in rubbish bins, a communication platform for snow removal, or streamlining health and medical care through data exchange. For industry, it can involve a smart logistics system, efficient energy recovery or connected medical equipment.

Groth & Co has been assisting Sweden’s dominant telephone company and mobile network operator, Telia, with patent work connected to the Internet of Things since 2017. This work has included both strategies and writing and filing patent applications. Telia has invested heavily in this technology and already has applications within Connectivity (solutions for monitoring, controlling and reading machines, measuring equipment and sensors), Smart Public Transport (internet, infotainment and passenger counting) and Telia Sense (simpler car ownership with driving records, parking assistance and environmentally friendly driving).

Even today, in 2018, 50% of Swedes indicate that they have one or more connected devices in their homes. In 2017 there were estimated to be 20 billion connected devices globally. That figure is expected to rise to 50 billion in 2020.