Milton Keynes Council, the Open University and BT are among organisations planning to build the UK's first city-wide, open access demonstration network for machine to machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The government-backed Connected Digital Economy Catapult and The Future Cities Catapult UK organisations are also involved in the initiative, which will be based on the Weightless communications standard.
The network could be used for anything from monitoring car parking spaces to checking when rubbish bins need emptying, according to the partners.
The project will demonstrate the ability of a city-wide M2M infrastructure to cope with a large number of static and mobile sensors. Some of these will support use cases for Milton Keynes Council, but the overall aim of the project is to attract other innovators to use the infrastructure as a testing ground for commercial applications, which do not need to be specific to Milton Keynes.
The technology is being supplied and managed by BT and Neul. Working with Milton Keynes Council, they will install a network of Weightless base stations to provide coverage across the city for low power, connected sensors.
Geoff Snelson, director of strategy at Milton Keynes Council, said, “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to a city-wide level of network access. 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.”
The collaboration will see large numbers of IoT sensors deployed over an 18-month span. It is intended that the network will remain as a long term development environment and platform for IoT innovation, attracting global companies to Milton Keynes.
Earlier this month, it was announced that San Francisco and San Jose would be getting the first IoT city networks in the US.