Digital Catapult has chosen six organisations to build experimentation testbeds for businesses and entrepreneurs to develop Internet of Things (IoT) products and services in the UK.
The winners of the IoTUK Boost programme will lead the roll out of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) across the UK. The winners are: AB Open; Advanced Digital Innovation (UK) Ltd; Cambridge Wireless; High Tech Bristol and Bath CIC (HBB); Sensor City Liverpool; and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre.
IoTUK Boost will aim to address barriers to entry into the IoT marketplace across the country, with the selected partners spanning from Bristol to Yorkshire. The initiative will look to drive experimentation and innovation in areas including healthcare, traffic and transport services, energy management and environmental sensing.
IoTUK Boost is funded by Government as part of the IoTUK research and innovation programme, underlining the importance of IoT for the UK’s digital economy. As part of IoTUK Boost, each partner will hold meet ups, open calls and training workshops to stimulate engagement with the test network for a minimum of six months.
Partners will each aim to work with at least 10 SMEs or entrepreneurs, to help them to bring early stage IoT products and services to a commercial prototype stage, or early market release.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “The Internet of Things stands to benefit a great number of people as well as the wider economy. Due to the strong interest shown so far in this initiative, we have doubled the amount of funding available to give more entrepreneurs the opportunity to test their products. Boost will help to provide local infrastructure and support for promising IoT businesses to innovate and bring exciting new IoT products and services to market”.
Dr. Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “Internet of Things is no longer a vision of the future, it’s here and transforming the world around us. By 2020 the IoT marketplace in the UK could be worth £20bn (Machina Research, 2015 ).
“Boost has a key role to play in making the most of this opportunity, and we are delighted to be working with our six selected partners from across the UK to achieve this. For the potential of IoT to be truly realised it is vital that we see regional IoT industry growth, and develop applications relevant for the local community.”
The selected partners are:
• AB Open – an open source and technical communities consultancy that specialises in embedded and wireless systems;
• Advanced Digital Innovation (UK) Ltd – a product development and technology innovation consultancy;
• CW (Cambridge Wireless) – the technology community interested in the development and application of wireless and connected devices technologies to solve business problems;
• High Tech Bristol and Bath CIC – works with high tech companies promoting, enhancing and developing technology;
• Sensor City – a technical innovation centre which fosters the creation, development, production and promotion of cutting edge sensor technologies for use in a wide range of sectors;
• The STFC Hartree Centre – accelerates the adoption and application of high performance computing, data science, big data analytics and cognitive techniques in industry. It is a strategic collaboration with IBM and is backed by over £170M funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, all aimed at boosting big data research in the UK.
Boost will build on the launch in September of Digital Catapult Things Connected, which aims to ensure London is open and ready to innovate with the IoT. Things Connected will initially provide 50 LoRaWAN base stations located across London to establish the UK’s largest IoT LoRaWAN network.
The Boost initiative will develop LPWAN systems across the UK and help SMEs and entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to become quickly productive and innovative through the use of LPWANs. With longer range, decreased power requirements and lower cost than a mobile network, LPWANs enable a much wider range of IoT applications.
In Cambridge, the CW programme will make use of the city-wide LoRaWAN network, which is currently being deployed by the Smart Cambridge programme as part of its work with the Greater Cambridge City Deal.
CW has formed a core partnership with Everynet, the LoRa Alliance, Iotic Labs and Smart Cambridge, which will be supported by the University of Cambridge and a variety of technology businesses as the programme gathers pace.
CW will co-ordinate a programme providing support for businesses to test LPWAN technology solutions that focus on a genuine need or problem area. The IoT providers selected will be able to demonstrate a potential solution to one of the three core challenges facing the region: air quality monitoring, transport and primary prevention of ill health in older people.