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MK:Smart, the £16m Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) smart city project currently underway in Milton Keynes, has enlisted internet of things (IoT) specialist ThingWorx to supply a rapid application deployment environment as a new feature on its data hub.
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The Open University-led initiative, which also includes partners such as BT, University Campus Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes Council, is aiming to tackle barriers to economic growth in the city through deployment of IoT technology.
It has already trialled a service designed to make it easier for residents to find parking spaces, and another to make waste disposal more efficient.
The MK Data Hub, developed by BT and the Open University, was designed to process the huge amounts of information generated by smart city sensors in Milton Keynes, and is seen as critical to the project’s success.
By enabling a data-centric approach to open innovation, and a platform that can be used to deliver apps and services to the city, the hub offers opportunities for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local startups to take data-driven IoT projects to market.
It will provide a purpose-built IoT development environment, which will be offered free to SMEs taking part in MK:Smart, to develop market-ready apps. It will pre-connect to datasets already stored in the hub, while at the same time being open to new data sources as they become available.
ThingWorx, which forms part of the wider PTC group, a global provider of platforms designed to help businesses create, operate and service “things” on the IoT, said the enhanced platform would speed up the development process for new interactive smart city applications.
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“ThingWorx is a great addition to the MK Data Hub,” said MK:Smart project director, the Open University’s Enrico Motta.
“It will enhance our platform by facilitating rapid prototyping and delivery of IoT applications, a key aspect of smart city solutions. I am looking forward to seeing the results from this exciting collaboration,” he added.
ThingWorx president Russ Fadel said: “Integrating ThingWorx with the MK Data Hub will not only enable universities, high tech businesses and incubators to quickly and securely deliver IoT applications that unlock the value in the city’s open datasets, but also to accelerate economic growth in Milton Keynes by promoting the creation of new local business ventures.”