London picked for LoRa testbed


London is to host a LoRa network as the UK city looks to build traffic and transport services, energy management and environmental sensors.

BT will be one of the companies involved in the Digital Catapult's Things Connected project, which also includes Beecham Research, start-up incubators and researchers from universities across London.

Fifty LoRA wide area network base stations will be set up across London, in what the UK government's Digital Catapult incubator claims will be the UK's largest network using that technology.

Digital Catapult said it wants the LoRa network to lower the barriers for entrepreneurs and SMEs to access the Internet of Things and build new use cases. It aims to replicate the project in a number of UK regions over the coming years.

Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “Things Connected is starting in London but we want it to cover the UK. To capture more of the digital dividend in the UK economy, we need to accelerate the adoption of the Internet of Things. Things Connected empowers London’s terrific tech community to test their IoT innovations so they can begin to improve the quality of life for those living or working across the capital.

"This is the beginning of our work. 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.”

Among the potential use cases it suggested could be introduced, Digital Catapult raised the prospect for a "safer journey planner", which tracks footfall counts, traffic congestion feeds and crash data from bikes.

Another area was using sensors for asthma suffers to track and then avoid areas of high air pollution and humidity across London. 

Third, micro wind speed and turbulence sensors could in future be used to help the optimisation of drone delivery routes, making the technology more efficient.

Chris Sims, Managing Director, BT, said: “The Internet of Things has the potential to fundamentally change how we live, work and do business. But only by taking an open, collaborative approach can we truly maximise that potential, and help our customers to engage with this exciting new world of IoT technologies. We’re proud to be playing our part in making Things Connected a success, and helping London and the UK to build an exciting future as a leader in IoT.”