UK consortium announces an open access, city scale IoT network in Milton Keynes

Press release

key to unlocking vast new applications - boland

22nd May 2014. A consortium of leading technology companies: – Connected Digital Economy Catapult, Future Cities Catapult, Milton Keynes Council and The Open University have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build a city-wide, open access demonstration network for machine-to-machine [M2M] communications and the Internet of Things (IoT), based on the Weightless communications standard. The project will demonstrate the ability of a city-wide M2M infrastructure to cope with a large number of static and mobile sensors.

Some of these will support case studies for Milton Keynes Council, but the mission for the project is to attract many other innovators to use the infrastructure as a test bed for commercial applications, new products and services which need not be specific to Milton Keynes.

The technology is being supplied and managed by Neul and BT.

Working with Milton Keynes Council, they will install a network of Weightless base stations to provide coverage across the city for low power, connected sensors.

Stan Boland, CEO of Neul , commented, “We’re excited to be announcing the first dedicated, city-wide network for the IoT here in the UK.”

Boland added, “Neul’s low-power, open-access, wide-area network solution provides the key to unlocking a vast variety of new applications, previously impossible or uneconomical with existing communications technologies.”

“We see this exciting project as a means of establishing an open innovation environment to support the creation of M2M and IoT applications across a whole city,” said Alan Ward, head of corporate ICT practice at BT.

He continued, “This could include anything from intelligent monitoring of parking spaces in the city to networked bins which signal when they need collecting.”

“The project will showcase BT’s capability in managing network services for these applications which will be pivotal in making this initiative a success.”

Geoff Snelson, director of strategy at Milton Keynes Council, commented, “Milton Keynes is already known as a pioneer in the use of technology to make our city more efficient, as evidenced by the current MK:Smart project,”

Snelson continued, “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to extending that to a city-wide level of access.”

“As well as providing a test-bed for our own specific use cases, this will bring new innovation and business development to the city, creating an ecosystem of IoT development.”

The collaboration will deploy large numbers of IoT sensors over its eighteen month span as well as proving a range of different business models in a real world environment.

It is intended that it will remain as a long term development environment and platform for IoT innovation, attracting global companies to Milton Keynes.

About Neul

Based in Cambridge UK,  Neul develops and supplies the technology to allow network operators to provide a scalable, low power network service to connect small, low-power devices to their online digital presence in the Cloud. The Neul vision is to bring about a revolution in the way devices and applications communicate, enabling the Internet of Everything.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach. For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287 million with reported profit before taxation of £2,312million. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

About Connected Digital Economy Catapult

The Connected Digital Economy Catapult is a not-for-profit organisation, which aims to rapidly advance the best digital ideas to market. The Digital Catapult builds platforms for UK SMEs to innovate on at speed and with less risk, so new digital products and services can be accelerated to market. Set up in 2013 by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the catapult is company limited by guarantee with the specific aim of driving future economic growth in the digital economy. It is one of seven catapults created to generate growth in each of their specific areas.

About Future Cities Catapult

The Future Cities Catapult is a global centre of excellence on urban innovation, a place where cities, businesses and universities develop together the solutions cities need for a strong economy, resilient environment and an improved quality of life. One of seven Catapult centres established by the Technology Strategy Board, it focuses on the challenge of urban integration: helping cities take a more joined-up approach to the way they plan and operate. Its central London Innovation Centre and Cities Lab provide cutting-edge facilities for cross-disciplinary innovation.

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