Blogging, Tweeting and Facebook have changed the world by making it easier than ever for everyday people to publish and distribute their thoughts and media to the world. The resulting tidal wave of data now offers opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs to build entire new products, services and companies based on processing that data and offering recommendations, analytics and other information products to consumers.
Social data is set to be surpassed in the data economy, though, by data published by physical, real-world objects like sensors, smart grids and connected devices. The United States may have dominated the first basic and the second social stage of the Web, but the Chinese government is moving quickly to make China the world leader in this next stage, the Internet of Things. A major new public/private partnership in Chongqing aimed explicitely at the Internet of Things is just the latest signal.
The Chinese municipality of Chongqing and telco giant China Unicom have announced a multi-billion dollar partnership of investment and tax breaks aimed to create as much as $7 billion in annual revenues within five years from what's called the Internet of Things.
According to a report in Near Field Communications World, "Under the terms of the agreement, China Unicom and the municipal government will also jointly establish an NFC [Near Field Communications] Industry Alliance while China Unicom will establish a research facility specialising in the Internet of Things..."
We reported last month that the national government of China is also developing a national Internet of Things plan. China could take the lead, and Chongqing could try to become the next Silicon Valley.
A world-leading Internet of Things infrastructure and economy would give China a big advantage in efficiency throughout any industries that become instrumented with sensors and a platform for significant innovation.
In June, the parliament of the European Union officially endorsed development of an Internet of Things as well. The United States has no official state plan for the Internet of Things, but earlier this week objects surpassed new human subscribers to wireless data plans for the first time in US history.