Digital Catapult has announced its partners in establishing Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) in three locations across the UK.

Sunderland Software City, Ulster University and Amphy Ltd (working in partnership WND UK) have been awarded funding as part of the Catapult’s Things Connected programme to establish infrastructure for Internet of Things (IoT) development.

The three networks in the North East & Tees Valley, Northern Ireland and Bournemouth respectively, will expand upon Digital Catapult’s existing network in London and will be free to use for experimentation and prototyping with associated SME innovation programmes.

Partnerships were awarded following a competitive open call whereby consortia submitted their plans for IoT testing and development through varied initiatives across the private and public sectors.

From remote healthcare and wellness monitoring, to improving efficiency in the manufacturing sector, connected technologies will enable regions to better meet local business challenges and drive economic growth.

“With 25 per cent of IoT services expected to be delivered over LPWAN by 2025, failure to establish an accessible network could dull the UK’s competitive edge,” explains Digital Catapult CEO Dr Jeremy Silver.

“The Things Connected programme aims to counter this threat by supporting the development of IoT, placing the UK in a better position to grasp a sizable chunk of this multi-trillion-dollar global market.

“Its regional roll-out will democratise resulting economic growth, ensuring that businesses across the country reap the day-to-day rewards this technology offers.”

Sunderland Software City will employ the network to develop smart water metering, streamline supply chain logistics and improve rail infrastructure.

Ulster University will drive efficiencies in healthcare service provision and manufacturing distribution. It will also use connected sensors to better understand tourism patterns.

Amphy is working with WND UK to develop smart street barriers that will improve safety and monitoring systems for landslides, which it hopes to export to other vulnerable areas.

Partners were selected for the programme based on the range of potential IoT applications they presented and their commitment to driving IoT development for the benefit of local businesses. Geography was also a factor.

“IoT is set to revolutionise British business,” said Silver. 

“Businesses using LPWAN-based IoT stand to benefit from low-cost connected tracking and monitoring capabilities, driving significant efficiencies.

“LPWAN technology is particularly suited to fundamental, low-data IoT requirements – connecting devices that send small amounts of data over a long range, using very little battery life.”

Sunderland Software City CEO David Dunn said: “LPWAN will allow us to develop and deliver new IoT-based initiatives across the region and improve existing ones.

“In anticipation of next year’s Great Exhibition of the North, IoT development will help us manage million-strong crowds and deliver the best possible visitor experience.

“It will also support our ambitions to improve our rail infrastructure, make Sunderland the first city in the UK to benefit from a fully-connected water metering system and smooth logistics at the Port of Sunderland.”