While the Internet of Things (IoT) is certainly still in hype phase, connected technologies are fast becoming pervasive across a wide range of industries and promise to deliver real benefits. But like any new technology cycle, it’s about finding solutions to problems that matter. That’s the thinking behind the recently launched national IoTUK Boost Programme, designed to support IoT innovation and adoption across business and public sectors, through open innovation challenges and incubation activities across the UK.
IoTUK has appointed four local partners to deliver the IoTUK Boost activity. These are Scottish based CENSIS, the innovation centre for sensor and imaging systems; DataCity - Leeds in Partnership with ODI Leeds & DigicatYorks; Sunderland Software City, which supports aspiring and established software businesses in the North East of England; and CW (Cambridge Wireless), to run the Boost programme in the South of England.
At CW, our focus is on health and social care, an area that has huge potential to gain from IoT. Included under this umbrella is health and fitness, wellness, managing and monitoring long term conditions, telehealth and telecare. These may be indoor solutions for use in hospitals and the connected home or on the move solutions related to smart cities, smart transport, environmental monitoring or location tracking.
We have issued a challenge for UK SMEs working on novel instrumentation, assistive technology, wearables, mobile apps or combinations of sensors, services and data that can empower citizens, improve independence and save money. The next step is to bridge the gap and connect these solution providers with problem owners.
In the middle are organisations who can provide the ‘plumbing’ of the secure data sharing environment, network infrastructure, implementation, data analysis and end-to-end security. While at the edge are companies developing new hardware, sensors, actuators, intelligent chipsets and connectivity solutions addressing the engineering challenges of collecting and delivering data at very low power, across disparate communication channels.
To apply for our IoTUk Boost programme, organisations must have less than 250 employees and a turnover no greater than €50 million. CW wlll select up to 20 SMEs to take part in a preparatory workshop at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, followed by a one day intensive ‘pop up accelerator’ at either the Surrey Technology Centre in Guildford or Watershed in Bristol. Here they will receive specialist guidance and practical advice to assist in the acceleration of their product or service from idea stage to a robust and fundamental business proposition, as well as network with experts, problem owners and customers.
The emphasis of the Bristol accelerator at Watershed will focus on indoor technologies, challenging the SMEs to delve deeper into the design, business and promotional challenges of IoT solutions for hospitals and the connected home.
In Guildford, at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, we move to assisted living within and beyond the home – or ‘out and about’. This will include smart cities, future cities mobility, smart transport, environmental monitoring, location and monitoring. The SMEs will explore the crucial challenges around interoperability and adoption.
The programme aims to encourage SMEs to go beyond the technical capacities of IoT, bringing emphasis to user experience and service design, stimulating intelligent discussion of issues such as consent, identity, security, privacy, value chain payments / billing, agency and permission in IoT, alongside the personal and social benefits of more connected and responsive environments.
Principal IoT Consultant at IoTUK / Digital Catapult, Idris Jahn, said "The full potential of the Internet of Things will only be realised by close collaboration between public and private organisations. IoTUK aims to foster this collaboration to advance IoT adoption across all regions of the UK to drive social and economic benefits. With our Boost programme, we sought partners that shared the same passion for IoT to solve regional challenges.”
Along with the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre and SETsquared centres in Bristol, CW’s activity within the IoTUK Boost Programme is supported by Mediatek Labs, Arkessa, Iotic Labs, Breed Reply, The Alloy, DHACA and Iotic Labs.
Bob Driver, CEO at Cambridge Wireless