BT provides IoT network for UK's first city-wide M2M trial

BT agreed to provide technology for the first city-wide Internet of Things (IoT) network in the UK, to demonstrate the ability of the infrastructure to control large numbers of static and mobile sensors.

The UK incumbent will supply and manage technology for a machine-to-machine network in the city of Milton Keynes in a project also involving technology company Neul, the Milton Keynes Council, The Open University, and two not-for-profit organisations established by the Technology Strategy Board: the Connected Digital Economy Catapult, and the Future Cities Catapult.

Milton Keynes' IoT network will utilise base stations using the Weightless white space standard, and will see large numbers of IoT sensors deployed during the 18 months the trial network is due to be operational.

BT will construct 15 base stations for the trial, which is due to commence in September, the Guardian reported.

Alan Ward, head of corporate ICT practice at BT, said the network will be capable of services including "intelligent monitoring of parking spaces in the city to networked bins which signal when they need collecting."

Ward added the network will also act as a showcase of "BT's capability in managing network services for these applications".

Stan Boland, CEO of Neul, said the IoT network will be the first of its kind in the UK, and that his company's low-power, wide area network, will unlock "a vast variety of new applications" that were "previously impossible or uneconomical with existing communications technologies."

For the city of Milton Keynes, the network will advance its current efforts around smart technologies, Geoff Snelson, Director of Strategy at Milton Keynes Council explained. "As well as providing a test bed for our own specific use cases, this will bring new innovation and business development to the city, creating an ecosystem of IoT development," he said.

In addition to being used to test council services, the network will also be available to other companies and organisations to test commercial products, applications, and services that are not specific to Milton Keynes.

Gartner recently predicted the number of installed IoT units will grow almost 30-fold from 0.9 billion units in 2009 to 26 billion units by 2020, but warned the growth requires innovation from device manufacturers.

For more:
- see this Weightless press release
- see this Guardian article

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