How will it work and what are the challenges?
The UK government has pledged to double the amount of funding it gives to technology companies working on devices for the Internet of Things (IoT).
The idea of IoT, first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, a project manager at Belkin’s cleantech division, refers to appliances enabled with sensors and assigned their own IP address – thus creating a world where everything from fridges, to beds, to teapots communicate with each other and make intelligent decisions in real-time.
David Cameron, the UK prime minister, announced an extra £45m, bringing the total figure up to £73m, as he arrived in Germany for the CeBIT 2014 trade fair earlier this week.
CBR tells you five things you need to know about it.
1. How will it work?
The funding will be provided by the UK’s government-funded innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which it will divide into different IoT areas.
This includes £18.5m for its smart cities programme, £10m on digital health and location-based services, £4m on freight transport, and about £8.5m on remote working and high street innovations.
The funding will be distributed in the form of R&D grants to universities, public sector organisations or businesses that are working together on a particular project via a series of competitions.
Another £9m will support IoT innovation through TSB’s Satellite Applications catapult centre, which works with SMEs, universities and end users to develop satellite-based applications, while £3.5m has already been put aside for research projects to support the digital economy.
The government also set up a £1m European funding competition designed to support startups in Shoreditch and Cambridge working in the space. The government’s East London Tech City organisation will be running the grant fund in conjunction with the TSB.
Further details on TSB’s annual delivery plan will be available in a few weeks from now.
2. What about Transport?
According to TSB, the government is looking at IoT to improve transport and logistics, with IoT facilitating the remote monitoring of everything from bins, vehicles and traffic lights, which it hopes will make cites more efficient and improve decision-making in real-time.
Nick Appleyard, head of digital at TSB, says: "We ran a competition about a year ago and invited city authorities to put forward their proposals for how they use these kinds of IoT technologies in order to manage their cities better."
About £24m has already gone to Glasgow’s city authorities, which has been distributed to businesses collaborations looking to apply IoT to buses, bins, building and lampposts.
"Bristol has also received funding, so has Peterborough…although it’s a small city, there are some advantages because you can actually get your arms around the whole thing," says Appleyard.