Computer giant Intel has opened a new lab at its Lexilip campus where it will carry out research into the area of connected devices, or the 'Internet of Things'.

The IoT Ignition Lab will aim to exploit what is one of the fastest growing areas of the technology industry.

Analysts estimate that by 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices in the world, which will be able to communicate with us, each other, the cloud and produce data.

That data is seen as being a potentially rich source of value for companies who wish to develop new services, grow efficiencies and solve problems for clients.

Intel already has five similar labs located in Swindon in England, Stockholm in Sweden, Munich in Germany, Istanbul in Turkey and Haifa in Israel.

The specific markets that will be served by the facility here include smart cities, smart homes and buildings, smart agriculture and energy.

According to Frank Jones, vice president of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, Ireland was chosen because it has "one of the most vibrant tech landscapes in the world and represents for Intel a hub of activity that spans right across our business - we believe there is an opportunity for Ireland to be a leader in this space and to drive innovation that will spur development and growth in IoT worldwide."