UK cities and businesses are being encouraged to apply for a £10m fund in a competition that will revolutionise the way the Internet of Things (IoT) benefits citizens by offering environmental improvements, economic opportunities, and more efficient and effective delivery of services such as transport, healthcare and energy.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Innovate UK are offering up to £10 million for a single collaborative research and development project to demonstrate the capability of IoT in a city region. The competition is part of a wider £40 million government investment in IoT announced in March 2015.
Examples of IoT at work in cities already include:
- Smart lighting and sensing allows a city to gather and share information on footfalls, air quality and noise pollution levels.
- Measure passenger journeys and provide location-based services to help speed up journeys and enhance passenger experiences across various forms of transport.
- Data collection from traffic and road sensors helping ease congestion and reduce emissions within the city.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“The Internet of Things is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. The UK technology sector is renowned for its creativity and pioneering research and development. This competition will be instrumental in discovering new connections between city services and their users, and identifying many more advantages that the Internet of Things could offer.”
IoT is a major area of growth and will have a transformative effect on society – a recent report by Arup estimates that the global value of the IoT sector will exceed £255 billion a year by 2020. Cities can use IoT to improve services for their citizens, increase quality of life and make better-informed decisions more quickly. The success of cities will depend on them working in new ways with new partners.
Nick Appleyard, Innovate UK’s deputy director for government partnerships, said:
“The Internet of Things is on the brink of connecting communities and commerce across the UK. The transformative technology will make our lives more connected, allowing us to make more informed decisions based on data and drive the productivity of companies.
“The UK has the opportunity to become a world-leader in this sector, boosting the economy and creating the jobs of tomorrow. Innovate UK has a vital part to play in working with companies and local partnerships to make this happen.”
Projects must be collaborative and led by a local authority or local enterprise partnership (or an equivalent body outside England). Projects should involve at least one local authority, one local enterprise partnership and several businesses.
All competition entries must involve IoT, and additional requirements include:
- A specific benefits for citizens, the city region and the environment.
- Economic benefits for businesses and local authorities, both during and after the initial trial.
- Appropriate security and privacy features.
- Entries must be able to work across a variety of sectors, for example social care, transport and housing.