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Initiatives combine to create UK’s largest free-to-use LPWAN

The innovation centre also announces a partnership with BIMA, the association for the digital industry

Combining the initiatives extends the scope for UK innovators to build IoT solutions
Combining the initiatives extends the scope for UK innovators to build IoT solutions

Digital Catapult’s Things Connected initiative has partnered with the Things Network (TTN) to create Britain’s largest free-to-use LoRaWAN network and innovation community.


It brings together the existing Things Connected regions (London, North-East, and Northern Ireland) and the 63 local TTN communities with over 700 members and 250 gateways.


“LPWAN connectivity will be the driving force behind the uptake of IoT, bringing new companies and services to market,” said Peter Karney, head of product innovation, Digital Catapult, the UK’s advanced digital technology innovation Centre. “This partnership enables us to expand and accelerate UK innovation.’’


UK innovators will now be able to develop and build Internet of Things (IoT) solutions on a network of over 400 base stations across the country. Things Connected innovation programmes are now more accessible and inclusive to UK entrepreneurs no matter where they’re based.


Things Connected was established in 2016 by Digital Catapult at a time when the UK lacked significant national LPWAN coverage. Its aim has been to stimulate UK innovation, and accelerate the adoption of low power networking technologies by IoT innovators. Meanwhile, TTN has grown over the last three years in parallel with Things Connected, with a global free-to-use open network service that has crowd-sourced base station coverage.


Through the Things Connnected programme, Digital Catapult has enabled over 700 innovators to experiment with IoT technologies, leading to new products and services being brought to market in the UK and abroad. Thousands can now access the combined network for testing and product development.


“UK innovators can now deploy LoRaWAN solutions more seamlessly across the region and fuel further collaboration to benefit the UK economy,” said TTN’s Wienke Giezeman. “Companies too will also be able to demonstrate their services globally, with TTN nodes available across the six continents.’’


The combined network is expected to be self-sustaining and continue to grow through community support, as both TTN in the UK and Things Connected have over the past two years.


Digital Catapult’s ambition is to stimulate innovative LPWAN solutions in the UK, first by providing access to widespread free-to-use networks for early development and testing, and then by encouraging the development of larger scale commercial networks for launching and scaling services. WND, a partner to Things Connected, has recently scaled a national, commercial Sigfox network, and within the next few years narrowband IoT is also expected to emerge in the UK.


In a separate announcement, Digital Catapult said it is joining forces with BIMA, the association for the digital industry, to help grow the UK’s digital economy. The two organisations will connect via a series of joint networking events and UK-wide breakfast drop-ins, encouraging cross-sector innovation from Digital Catapult into the creative industries and driving collaboration.


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