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IoT helps Northern Ireland tackle key challenges

Companies can make use of the Things Connected low power, wide area netwoek

The consortium is rolling out the Things Connected programme at break neck speed
The consortium is rolling out the Things Connected programme at break neck speed

A programme led by Ulster University in Northern Ireland (NI) is inviting SMEs to make use of the Things Connected Internet of Things (IoT) network to tackle long-standing challenges such as the Brexit border issue, farm safety, managing tourism and home-based healthcare.


Things Connected NI is delivered by a consortium of partner organisations including all of the councils in Northern Ireland and a number of the country’s leading private sector industry technology experts and business leaders.


The low power, wide area network (LPWAN), which covers the whole country and is free-to-use, enables SMEs, makers and researchers to develop IoT solutions that need to communicate with services across large geographic areas while using the least amount of energy possible.


“LPWAN technology can be used in remote healthcare and wellness monitoring, boosting manufacturing efficiency, creating intelligent transport and agriculture solutions, and enabling better management of resources,” said project lead, Dr Philip Catherwood, NIBEC, Ulster University.


He added: “Thanks to the network, SMEs, researchers and developers have the unique opportunity to test, experiment, demonstrate and pilot innovative IoT products and services that could have a real impact on lives here in Northern Ireland.”


Things Connected NI is setting out nine challenges in areas that include urban living, transport, smart buildings, manufacturing, digital media, tourism, agriculture and healthcare.


The programme is supported by Ulster University’s world-leading research in connected health and data analytics. It has also developed a new IoT Masters programme to respond to the emerging importance of careers in the field across all sectors.


Things Connected is a UK-wide initiative by Digital Catapult to support UK businesses using LPWAN technologies. Following a competitive open-call, the Northern Ireland Consortium, led by Ulster University, was selected to roll out a coast-to-coast network in Northern Ireland.


“The Northern Ireland Consortium is dynamic and is rolling the Things Connected programme at break neck speed,” said Peter Karney, head of product innovation, Digital Catapult.


Other organisations in the consortium include Invest NI, TourismNI, the regional IoT forums and the infrastructure installer Bluebox Broadband.


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