How can operators confirm their place at the forefront of IoT innovation?
This week the UK SME incubator Digital Catapult – set up to help digital businesses innovate – launched an Internet of Things (IoT) network across London to encourage startups and small businesses to tap into the potential of the IoT and to encourage innovation in the rapidly growing field.
The programme, known as Things Connected, will initially provide 50 LoRaWAN base stations across the UK capital, in order to provide a large-scale public network as the first phase of the testbed, with a further low-power WAN (LPWAN) to be added as the network develops.
It will be the UK’s largest LoRaWAN network for IoT development, and is free to use. It aims to help boost the development of services for common IoT use cases – such as infrastructure provision, traffic and transport services and energy management and environment sensing – as well as more advanced applications such as traffic congestion and management capabilities, temperature, air quality and humidity monitoring, and even the development of much-touted parcel delivery drones through the use of wind speed and turbulence sensors around the capital.
Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult said: “Things Connected will help remove the barriers to IoT technology for businesses, and create new revenue opportunities for entrepreneurs and for smaller and larger companies.”
What is interesting about the project is the broad spectrum of stakeholders that Things Connected already involves, including BT, four major London universities, as well as a mix of commercial organisations.
Indeed, as Smart Mobility Summit has noted before, the future opportunities offered by the IoT, smart cities, 5G, HetNets, and other connectivity technologies, requires collaboration and partnerships between a fluid mix of organisations and stakeholders, with each project requiring a unique blend of expertise and, of course, leadership.
The potential rewards are there to see. According to the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR), for example, big data and the IoT could add £322 billion, and over 200,000 new jobs, to the UK economy by 2020.
Of course, operators will be an essential component in ensuring the success of the IoT and smart city projects. But it will not be enough to simply provide an infrastructure that can carry the burgeoning volume of IoT data, as well as the different types of data, from high-volume, low importance information to mission-critical data. Operators will need to be at the centre of the mix, helping to develop new apps, services and technologies.
Already, some forward-thinking operators have dived into the world of IoT innovation. For example, Spain’s Telefónica offers an IoT product called Thinking Things, which allows developers to create apps for smart homes and offices, while UK Orange has developed a machine-to-machine (M2M) communications system in collaboration with Nespresso and Coca-Cola. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, offers its Industry 4.0 initiative, which aims to support the digitisation of manufacturing.
It’s essential that operators look to innovate in these new and exciting fields. Merely providing the ‘pipe’ will not suffice, and so they will need to innovate and collaborate with a broad mix of new and different partners in order to tap into the new revenue streams on offer.
At Smart Mobility Summit we have always been committed to embracing the broadest spectrum of stakeholders possible, as we believe that this is the only way the industry will fulfil the potential of the exciting new opportunities and revenue streams that are already on the horizon.
Our events provide an open platform for debate, and ample opportunity for networking and sharing insight with industry peers, in the hope that the industry can find new ways to collaborate and innovate in order to help shape the future landscape of communications technologies.
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