If there’s a race to lead the Internet of Things (IoT), China aims to set the pace. Since Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao identified IoT as an “emerging strategic industry” in an interview on state media, Beijing has focused on developing technology by which devices can communicate via infrared sensor, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and other Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology.
Beijing plans to invest 5 billion yuan ($800 million) in the IoT industry by 2015. The Ministry of Information and Technology estimates China’s IoT market will hit 500 billion yuan ($80.3 billion) by 2015, then double to 1 trillion yuan ($166 billion) by 2020. One of the first applications the government is looking to the Internet of Things for help is to deal with food safety issues and healthcare in remote areas. The government has established state-owned enterprise zones such as the Chengdu Internet of Things Technology Institute in Sichuan province, which is developing a health care system in which rural villagers can step into a telephone booth-sized “health capsule” to get a diagnosis and prescription from a doctor in a distant hospital.