A mobile network that can underpin the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) projects is to be built in 10 of the UK's largest cities to pave the way for the nation to embrace this area of innovation.
Network firm Arqiva will build and manage the network in 10 major cities, including London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham. It will run at the 868MHz range, which requires no licence to use, making it quick to get up and running.
Furthermore, this frequency will enable the firm to manage the transmission of data using sensors from a French company called SigFox, which solves a number of the challenges facing IoT deployments.
SigFox services are already in use in France, Spain and Russia. The company specialises in building sensors that can send data over long distances and have a battery life of between 15 and 20 years.
This combination of low power use and high distance transmission frequency capabiltiies makes it ideal for IoT projects, as Wendy McMillan, managing director of smart metering and machine-to-machine at Arqiva, explained.
"The SigFox technology is ideal because it address the problems of traditional mobile solutions such as battery life and price and allows you to put sensors in all manner of locations and then transmit data," she said.
"You could put sensors in parking spaces to let people know if a space was free, or to gather climate data on water levels and humidity, or in-building information, essentially anything for someone that may have a need for that data."
Once the network is up and running - scheduled to be in about 12 months' time - it will then be possible for organisations such as councils to work with Arqiva to install sensors where relevant and start transmitting and gathering data.
"Investing in this network allows the UK to be at the forefont of IoT developments and, as this technology expands, the sort of application it could lead to is huge," McMillan added.
The remaining cities it will hook up are Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Leicester and Sheffield. Further rollouts will then take place.
The Internet of Things is seen as one of the major new areas of innovation that could transform everyday life, and firms across the technology sector are looking to be at the forefont of this revolution.
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