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UK government launches three-year programme to advance IoT

Steve Rogerson
September 16, 2015
The UK government has launched a three-year programme to convene and amplify the UK’s IoT industry to help business and economic growth, enable better services, and improve quality of life. Called IoTUK, it is part of the government’s £40m investment in IoT.
Powered by the Digital Catapult and the Future Cities Catapult, IoTUK will look to advance the UK’s global position in IoT and increase the adoption of high-quality IoT technologies and services throughout businesses and the public sector.
IoTUK aims to play a central role in enabling IoT entrepreneurship and will collaborate with organisations in a wide range of fields including cities, health and industrial applications. It will focus on enabling the UK’s businesses and public sector to make advances in creating their IoT capability, specifically in areas such as security and trust, data interoperability, investment justification and design development.
“We are at a pivotal point in the evolution of the internet of things and the UK needs to be ready to maximise the incredible potential of smart technology,” said Neil Crockett, CEO of the Digital Catapult. “But this is not about talking fridges. This is about systematic operability, artificial intelligence, machine automation and about how devices can and will change business models and supply chains. The societal impact from improving city infrastructure through to making IoT healthcare a reality is huge, and the UK needs to be at the cusp of these things to stay ahead.”
IoTUK aims to increase the impact of the government’s IoT investment programme, by coordinating and managing the organisations that will be appointed to deliver the recently announced public funding. The successful organisations will include a city demonstrator, a research hub focused on security and trust, a hardware accelerator, ands a healthcare test bed. These competitions are on-going and led by Innovate UK, Digital Economy Unit (in DCMS), NHS England and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
“We have the academics, industry and consumer demand to make use of IoT in everyday life a reality, not a pipedream,” said Crockett. “But there are challenges to overcome, and it is our responsibility, as part of IoTUK, to help support and work with our growing IoT sector to ensure that the UK is a leader and not just a consumer. We are proud to be part of the future of IoT and are excited to play a key role in the future of UK society.”
Over the coming months, IoTUK will host a number of workshops and events across the UK and has launched a number of ways for organisations in the IoT sector to get involved.The first is a case study open call. It is looking to highlight IoT projects that are implemented, and have delivered real, proven value for business and citizens.
IoTUK is also seeking applicants to be a part of the physical showcase in the Digital Catapult and Future Catapult Centres. And thisweek, it will be launching a call asking for organisations from across the UK to partner to deliver a series of local IoT innovation challenges and rapid incubation activities.
“The internet of things has huge potential to transform the way that people live and work in cities,” said Peter Madden, chief executive of Future Cities Catapult. “Businesses and academics in the UK have been at the forefront of innovation in this area. Through this exciting project, we want to build on this and help deliver a double dividend to the country, by both greatly improving urban quality of life and at the same time positioning UK businesses for a rapidly growing globally market.”
Collaboration and building beneficial connections with organisations across the IoT sector will remain a core focus for IoTUK as the programme progresses over the three years. It will look to convene and amplify the work of the organisations that are already advancing the relevance of IoT to their fields.
IoTUK will be hosting an event at the Digital Ccatapult Centre in London on October 8, where anyone who is involved with IoT can attend and understand more about the programme and how they can get involved.