Digital Catapult is to expand its Things Connected low-power wide area network (LPWAN) program to councils and enterprises in the UK.
The organization, a not-for-profit body that focuses on helping UK businesses to scale up, originally established the program in 2016, and offers network coverage across Greater London, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Bradford.
LPWAN, meanwhile, enables long-range wireless data communication between connected devices, even in hard-to-reach areas.
But Digital Catapult has now announced plans to manage a further £540,000 of investment, and is accepting bids for funding from regional network consortia, including councils and enterprises. The aim is to deliver coverage in up to five additional regions of the UK. It hopes that, in turn, this will extend support for the creation, development and testing of new IoT services and applications.
Open call process
Digital Catapult is accepting applications from organizations looking to test and deploy services on LPWAN technology via an ‘open call’ process. Successful bidders will be able to implement and operate a free-to-use regional LPWAN network, and they will receive an allocation of the funding and LPWAN hardware, along with access to expertise and technical training from Digital Catapult.
“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 ”, explained Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of 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.”
Ian Hughes, IoT analyst at IT market research company 451 Research, believes that there are few – if any – downsides to the Things Connected programme, since the main goal is shared growth.
“This LPWAN network is made available to encourage device and application providers to explore the potential of IoT. Different organizations and consortia arrange these platforms, some are simply to encourage general growth, others may be more as part of an investment and partnering portfolio, or to help spot new investment opportunities,” he said.
“Cities and councils that support these will attract new businesses, and providing shared workspaces can help these new businesses work together and learn from one another too,” he added.
Councils and enterprises that are interested in the program should apply online to the open call here. The deadline is 5:30pm on 29 September 2017. If successful, Digital Catapult says it will provide necessary equipment such as LPWAN gateways, relevant training on how to install and configure the gateways, as well as marketing and branding support.