Cork’s new €2m internet of things platform could transform our world

16 Jun 2015

EMC and Vodafone have jointly invested €2m in a new INFINITE internet of things (IoT) industrial platform that will traverse Cork, and which will provide facilities for the testing and exploration of technologies like machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

The IoT Innovation platform is spread across three data centres in Cork: EMC, Vodafone, and data centre and cloud provider Cork Internet eXchange (CIX).

Businesses will be able to use the platform to test solutions for the internet of things, in manufacturing, fleet management, machinery, household appliances, and even clothing that contains sensors and that can communicate with other machines (or things).

The move comes just over a week after Intel revealed that Ireland was to be the location of its newest IoT lab. The head of Intel’s IoT division, Frank Jones, said that Ireland is in the eye of a perfect storm when it comes to the potential for the IoT economy.

The scale and scope of the latest Cork project will mean it can be used simultaneously by companies in multiple fields – including healthcare, transport and financial services – to support applications that require mobile communication.

“Today’s announcement that EMC and Vodafone have chosen Ireland as the location of this platform is a very exciting development and a great example of what is possible in this area,” said Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The digital age’s IT transformation is underway

Dr Orna Berry, Corporate Vice President of Innovation, EMC Centre of Excellence (CoE) and R&D Centres, and General Manager Israel COE, said that the digital age’s IT transformation – cloud, big data, social, mobile and IoT – is continuously and increasingly changing the way we live and work.

“EMC Federation and Ireland’s CoE are excited to take a dynamic and influential part in this important eventuation, with the creation of the INFINITE innovative IoT platform.”

Vodafone CEO Anne O’Leary said that Vodafone is at the forefront of IoT and M2M technology at a global level.

“IoT has the potential to transform business in Ireland and we are excited to be in a position to provide companies with access to start developing their own IoT services.”

“The internet of things will change the way we engage with everyday products, making them more intelligent.” – Martin Shanahan, IDA CEO

The new INFINITE lab platform will prove to be a valuable industrial test-bed for countless numbers of industries, including smart cities and healthcare.

“As the need for more dynamic systems continues to grow, organisations will turn to utilising mobile networks to connect to virtual systems,” said Dr Richard Soley, executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium.

“This test-bed is going to prove the viability of doing all this with systems that require the utmost security – such as those used by hospitals and emergency medical services.”

IDA CEO Martin Shanahan said that the industrial agency has identified IoT as an industry with significant growth opportunities for Ireland.

“The internet of things will change the way we engage with everyday products, making them more intelligent.

“It is also an area where a number of IDA Ireland’s clients can work together, as we’re seeing here with EMC and Vodafone.”

Cork city image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years