A dedicated London-wide network designed for Internet of Things (IoT) devices was switched on this week, and the rollout of similar networks in other major cities in the UK is already in the pipeline. The network has been in development since June last year.
The Things Connected network is led by startup incubator Digital Catapult and comprises 50 LoRaWAN (long-range wide-area network) base stations located across London that are free to use for IoT devices. LoRaWANs are power efficient and can connect devices over an area of around 10-15 kilometres.
"Things Connected is starting in London but we want it to cover the UK," said Digital Catapult CEO Jeremy Silver.
"We aim to roll Things Connected out to help remove the barriers to IoT technology for businesses, and create new revenue opportunities for entrepreneurs and for smaller and larger companies."
Digital Catapult believes that the new network will help jumpstart the creation of IoT-based businesses in London and elsewhere with embedded devices connecting data from sensors monitoring pedestrian footfall and movement, traffic congestion, air quality and so on.
It also claimed that the IoT network will help to optimise delivery drones by logging wind speed and turbulence data from sensors installed across London.
London is not the first city to be covered by an IoT network. Dutch telco KPN already claims to have connected The Netherlands with the July 2016 completion of a LoRaWAN network ahead of South Korea.
The LoRaWAN standard was developed and launched last year by the LoRa Alliance, an industry body of companies and organisations involved in IoT networking.
It is designed in particular for wireless networking devices, and provides bi-directional communication in a ‘star of stars' topology in which gateways have a transparent bridge relaying messages between end devices and a central network server in the back end.
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