Digital Catapult and Innovate UK look to extend IoT network coverage across UK

Digital Catapult has announced the expansion of its Things Connected low powered wide area network programme. Digital Catapult will manage the investment of £540,000 (€590274) into regional network consortia invited to bid for this opportunity.

The expansion is expected to deliver coverage in up to five additional regions of the UK which in turn will extend support for the creation, development and testing of new Internet of Things services and applications.

Things Connected is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) and innovation programme established in 2016 and now has network coverage across Greater London as well as Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Bradford.

Applications for the new regional hubs are being invited via an Open Call process from partners who are looking to test and deploy services on LPWAN technology. Selected partners will use the network to run innovation programmes for UK start-ups and scale-ups to develop IoT solutions that address real business and economic challenges.

The programme will allow the selected partners to implement and operate a free-to-use regional LPWAN network enabling new product testing, experimentation, demonstration and piloting of IoT products and services. Successful bidders will receive an allocation of the funding and LPWAN hardware, along with access to expertise and technical training from Digital Catapult.

LPWAN enables long-range wireless data communication between connected devices (“things”), even in hard to reach areas. Its versatility combined with its low running costs presents opportunities all organisations – from enterprises interested in asset tracking and inventory control to councils looking to monitor social infrastructure.

Dr Jeremy Silver

Beyond supporting individual organisations, the widespread roll-out of LPWAN will benefit the whole UK economy. The value of IoT services could reach between $100 billion (€83.43 billion) and $300 billion (€250.30 billion) for the UK by 2025, with the proportion of those delivered over LPWAN likely to be around 25% of this figure.

“Through our Things Connected programme we are building an ecosystem to foster the development of new innovative products and services and increase the number of UK companies delivering on the Internet of Things ”, comments Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO Digital Catapult.

“Extending the initiative to become more of a nationwide programme is a critical step in this journey. We see a huge opportunity for the whole of the UK in the IoT space to increase our global competitiveness. We are looking to engage with forward thinking organisations on the roll-out of LPWAN as this will play a critical role in bringing the UK to the forefront of IoT development.”

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