The government is backing a new project that will accelerate the connection of everyday objects and processes to the internet.
Ten UK companies are to receive £50,000 each from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to research how the ecosystem of apps and services necessary to create the "Internet of Things" can be created.
An Internet of Things would require information on many products to be stored, received and transmitted wirelessly via a small chip attached to that product.
Real-time information like inventory management, organisation of public transport, pollution levels and even tyre pressure could be connected to the web in this way.
Maurizio Pilu, who is leading the programme for the TSB, said many businesses are still unaware of the opportunities an Internet of Things could offer them.
"We have found they are immature when it comes to considering the opportunities," told V3.
"Whether it is location data, sensors in the home, energy sensors or environment sensors, one day users may be able to access the data from their iPhones."
Pilu said the TSB had begun the project after a year of research and talking to the industry about how the internet will evolve.
"This idea of object connectivity, blurring the space between the physical and digital world was recognised, and research firms like IDC and Accenture are all pointing at this opportunity," he added.
The European Parliament recently passed a resolution supporting the Internet of Things with MEPs encouraging governments and businesses to move towards a new kind of marketplace because of the immense economic and research opportunities it could offer.
Following the research by the ten companies, the TSB plans to invest up to £4m in 2012 to show the benefits that can be gained from merging applications and services together through an Internet of Things.
The ten companies that will lead the initial research are: AIMES Grid Services, BT, Cambridge Wireless, Focus Innovation, Globosense, Housing 21, In Touch, InteliTap, Swirrl IT and WattBox.
Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site LocalGov.tv. Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.