Nigel Chadwick is the picture of fitness, and it is not just the cycling, squash and cross-country ski-ing that is putting a spring in his step.

For the trained accountant and marketeer who came to Scotland 23 years ago, a chance meeting in a pub in 1999 sparked a business that can claim to be a global pioneer of one of the hottest sectors in technology - the "internet of things".

Mr Chadwick styles Stream Technologies, with a tiny staff and less than £5 million of investment, as a "leading-edge disruptive force" in the telecoms industry. At his Glasgow West End headquarters, in between a flying schedule taking in France, Japan, India and Malaysia this month, the 50-year-old entrepreneur makes plain that after 14 years Stream is no aspiring start-up but a mature and potentially highly attractive prize.

When he says "we are the only company in the world that has developed what we have got and we are on the cusp of selling that on a worldwide basis", it is no niche product but the most advanced software platform enabling machine to machine (M2M) communication. Everyday devices, from smart meters to cars and washing machines to vending machines, now transmit data via a SIM card, and Stream has built the only platform which links the entire UK and European eco-system of machine-generated data. It embraces not only the telecoms giants but satellite-based Inmarsat, and offers a virtual platform that minimises intrusion into telco systems as it attracts new mobile phone networks worldwide.

Two US platform companies in this space have been taken out for $130m and $170m respectively, and when last year Google bought Apple spin-off Nest Labs, a maker of smart thermostats, for $3.2billion, a new tag for the sector went viral.

"I had been talking about the internet of things, and giving talks in China on it, since 2006," Mr Chadwick says. "Overnight in 2013 Google bought this company and said 'we are entering into the internet of things'... it was brilliant for us."

The Yorkshire-born livewire took his degree in tourism and leisure and spent six months on a Disney training programme. He then qualified as a CA, then as a market researcher, and set up his own consultancy before moving to Scotland in 1991. At the "once in a lifetime meeting" in an Edinburgh pub, he met co-founder and business partner Kevin McDowall, who was selling mobile phone contracts to corporates, in the era when texting was in its infancy. "We had this vision that the mobile networks would start to transfer data at some point, and talked about data being transferred between machines ... we saw this tiny speck called M2M coming over the horizon. Within two weeks Stream was formed."

Within two years, with M2M being used largely to monitor company vehicle fleets, the founders were in a meeting at the French headquarters of Orange. Mr Chadwick recalls. "There were 16 people from different departments all wanting to know about it, and we left with an undertaking for Orange to give us the first M2M tariffs. Now analysts are talking about 50 billion connected devices in the next five years."

By 2005, the first year of profitability, Stream had built a platform which enabled customers to log in at one portal and manage their entire data connectivity with any company.

"We have continuously reinvested in the full belief that profitability will eventually follow," the entrepreneur says.

"We own the company, we have no external investment, no shareholders to account to, and we have been very careful.We have been approached by numerous private equity firms and maybe we could have grown faster, but that would have required us to sell, sell, sell and not given us that Darwinism - we developed to survive."

Whereas most competitors had sought early returns by a focus on selling an existing service, Stream prioritised research through its team of 12 developers out of a staff of 19. "We are more of a software house that happens to play in the telco field," Mr Chadwick says.

Now rival platforms are being integrated into Stream access, along with the likes of Low Power Radio Networks and Inmarsat, and last year the company was adopted by software giant ARM as one of 25 high-powered IoT (internet of things) strategic partners. "We were alongside IBM, Telefonica and other huge names," he notes. "We rebranded what we have got as IoTx, and (at the launch) all the geeks and techies were asking what it could do and then saying 'wow, do you guys know what you are sitting on?'"

The co-founder says: "We now need to scale the business, that is my big 2014 challenge, having got the company to a pretty dominant position in terms of technical innovation in the UK and Europe.

"It is like every entrepreneur's dream - how do I scale this, how do I go global? Our main strategy is to continue to evolve the IoTx platform and make that available to the mobile networks operators around the world."

He adds: "Kevin McDowall (chief operating officer) has worked relentlessly to make Stream what it is - I am a big believer that often it is a double act that results in successful companies."

Meanwhile smart meters will be relaying our energy usage, and smart cars will be sending data to manufacturers as we drive.

Mr Chadwick says the invisible IoT will be watching you. "If you have an accident you won't even need to make a phone call - the unit on board will know everything about the accident and will even notify the emergency services at the same time."