Internet of things and 5G network research priority in 2015 Budget

Research into the internet of things and the 5G networks to support it figured highly in chancellor George Osborne’s 2015 Budget

Chancellor George Osborne has set out a number of initiatives to encourage research into networking technologies, including the internet of things (IoT) and 5G mobile networks.

In one of the most technology-friendly budgets in a while, Osborne threw out a slew of announcements around networking to coincide with a report released by DCMS, setting out the government’s Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy.

The government said it would set aside £100m for R&D into intelligent mobility, focusing in particular on driverless car technology, and £40m for demonstrator programmes, an incubator and research hubs to encourage IoT applications in health, social care and smart cities.

“Smart City technology could prove transformative, as well as providing significant opportunities for supporting jobs and growth,” said the government in its Budget Book.

“To ensure that the UK can take advantage of this technology, local areas will need to be empowered to make decisions, and collaborations will need to be built between cities, universities and business.

“The government will support a competition to fund a Smart Cities demonstrator as part of the internet of things programme to trial and showcase these new technologies.”

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Government collaborates on IoT roadmap

Drawing on the recommendations of last year’s review of the IoT, by government chief scientific advisor Mark Walport, the government said it would work with experts to develop a formal roadmap for the UK’s IoT infrastructure, to prevent fragmented and vulnerable networks.

"We will only get the best from these technologies if researchers, business leaders and government work together to ensure they deliver the greatest possible benefit to the public," said Walport.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "From making our transport network more efficient to improving how we monitor our health, investing in the internet of things has enormous potential to transform the way we live and work for the better, while generating jobs and growth right across the UK."

The government will begin work on shaping future standards around the IoT, and plans to establish a public-private sector advisory board that will oversee and co-ordinate IoT development and, where appropriate, offer views on the development of 5G networks.

Recognising that the IoT will depend on 5G, the government said both technologies should be considered together.

The UK has already ploughed £70m of public and private money into a 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey, which has already achieved a connection speed of 1 terabit per second (1Tbps) in tests.

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

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