Sensor City has been selected as one of six partners in the IoTUKBoost initiative which aims to lead the development of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled services and applications for UK SMEs and entrepreneurs.
Sensor City is a joint venture project between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University which brings together knowledge and experience in sensor technology and houses and supports high-tech businesses working on sensor systems and applications. It is supported by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the European Regional Development Fund.
The IoTUKBoost initiative aims to provide SMEs and entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to become quickly productive and innovative through the use of low power Long Range Wide Area Networks (LoRaWANs). With longer range, decreased power requirements and lower cost than a mobile network, LoRaWANs enable a much wider range of IoT applications.
Working in partnership with Stream Technologies, IoTUK Boost and Sensor City will be rolling out a low power Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) within the Liverpool City Region to enable businesses and entrepreneurs to develop and test Internet of Things (IoT) products and services in a live environment.
Through this initiative, Sensor City will work within the Liverpool City Region to allow companies to explore and take advantage of the benefits to be brought by moving into the digital age and adopting industry 4.0 approaches. The pilot will sit alongside the ERDF-funded LCR 4.0 project which launched on the 30 November and which provides funded support for companies looking to increase productivity and de-risk innovation.
Sensor City is now actively seeking companies interested to access the network and will shortly announce a series of events to provide further information on ways companies can engage. They will be holding meet ups, open calls and training workshops to stimulate engagement with the test network for a minimum of six months.
Dr Joanne Phoenix, Business Development for Sensor City, said: “The provision of a local network for sensor deployments will be able to provide SMEs and entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to become quickly productive and innovative through the use of LoRa technology. With longer range, decreased power requirements and lower cost than a mobile network, LoRaWAN enables a much wider range of IoT applications.
“We hope to be able to work with a host of different companies from a range of sectors which could all benefit from the adoption of novel IoT technologies. Some examples include the use of environmental monitors, pollution sensors and the ability to make social care devices more widespread.
“Both Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool have expertise in novel sensor developments which could be of assistance to companies looking to become more connected and make use of the network, I would encourage people to get in touch if this is of interest to them.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “The Internet of Things stands to benefit a great number of people as well as the wider economy. Due to the strong interest shown so far in this initiative, we have doubled the amount of funding available to give more entrepreneurs the opportunity to test their products. Boost will help to provide local infrastructure and support for promising IoT businesses to innovate and bring exciting new IoT products and services to market”.
Dr. Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “Internet of Things is no longer a vision of the future, it’s here and transforming the world around us. By 2020 the IoT marketplace in the UK could be worth £20bn. Boost has a key role to play in making the most of this opportunity, and we are delighted to be working with our six selected partners from across the UK to achieve this. For the potential of IoT to be truly realised it is vital that we see regional IoT industry growth, and develop applications relevant for the local community.”
Sensor City is supported through the UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (now Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS) with a £5 million University Enterprise Zone status capital investment award in 2014.
In 2016, the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, awarded Sensor City £5 million in capital investment as match funding to support the development of the hi-tech sensor hub.