When the chancellor, George Osborne, referred to the internet of things in his budget speech in March it conjured up memories of explaining apps to a grandparent at Christmas. Did the chancellor really know what he was talking about? Not since the 90s, when politicians referred to the internet as the information superhighway, has a technology term been greeted with such sniggering. Yet this “internet of things” is about to get a £40m shot in the arm from the Treasury. So what is it and what sort of questions should we be asking?