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Government-backed IoTUK programme launches

IoTUK programme is backed by £40m of government funding and will explore how the internet of things can be used to enable growth and improve quality of life

The Digital Catapult and the Future Cities Catapult have launched IoTUK, a programme to explore and expand the internet of things (IoT) in the UK.

Backed with money from a £40m IoT funding pot – which was first announced by the government in the spring Budget – IoTUK is designed to enable IoT entrepreneurship by providing support to businesses and public-sector organisations alike.

It will target those looking to explore the capabilities of the IoT in areas such as security and trust, data interoperability, investment justification and design and development.

Digital Catapult CEO Neil Crockett said he regarded the IoT as having reached a pivotal point in its evolution, and the UK was ready to take the conversation beyond smart fridges and first generation “point-to-point” IoT systems.

“This is about the combination of interoperability, AI and machine automation to create a game changer to the business models of every sector in the economy. The societal impact – from managing city infrastructure through to the delivery of our health and social services – will be huge.

“To stay ahead, the UK needs to be at the cusp of driving and gaining a new competitive edge from the fundamental technological changes that will happen in the next five years,” said Crockett.

IoTUK will co-ordinate and manage the organisations to be appointed to deliver the recently announced funding for a city demonstrator, a security research unit and health and social care test-beds. These are being led by Innovate UK, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Digital Economy Unit, NHS England and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

“We have the academics, industry, talent and consumer demand to be IoT leaders, but there are challenges to overcome to realise this. From sharper research to more effective test beds for ideas and the unearthing of new systems for issues such as cyber security and the explosion of personal data, IoTUK is focused on addressing these and other gaps to help support and work with our growing IoT sector,” said Crockett.

IoTUK has already planned out workshops and events across the UK. It has issued a call for real-world case studies, applicants for an IoT showcase and participants for a series of local innovation challenges and rapid incubation activities.

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