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Digital Catapult invites regional bids for IoT network expansion

Digital Catapult is planning a major expansion of its Things Connected IoT network across the UK and has invited bids from regional bodies

Digital Catapult is inviting interested parties to bid to take part in the expansion of its internet of things (IoT) low power wide area network (LPWAN) into new areas of the UK, as it looks to support the creation, testing and development of new IoT apps and services around the country.

Things Connected was established in 2016 and already covers Cambridge, Bradford, London and Milton Keynes. The next expansion will be backed by a £540,000 pot, which will be split between up to five regions.

IoT services are expected to be worth between £75bn and £225bn to the UK economy by the middle of the 2020s, with LPWAN connections predicted to account for around a quarter of that value, according to a McKinsey report.

“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,” said Digital Catapult CEO Jeremy Silver. “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.”

LPWAN has emerged as a key network standard for the IoT in the past year or so thanks to its low running costs and versatility making it well suited for running IoT projects that do not necessarily require massive amounts of throughput for data, such as asset tracking and inventory control.

Those interested in testing and deploying IoT services using LPWAN can apply to take part through an open call process that will run until 29 September 2017.

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Successful applicants will form regional consortia that will implement and operate free-to-use LPWAN networks to run local innovation programmes for IoT start- and scale-ups, enabling experimentation and demonstration, as well as product testing and piloting.

Each will receive an allocation of the funding and some LPWAN hardware – such as gateways – alongside technical expertise, training, and marketing and branding support from Digital Catapult.

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