UK 5G trials on the way, but which cities are primed for IoT?

7 Jul 2017

Singapore. Image: WAT K/Shutterstock

UK officials are set to embrace 5G after funding a major trial, but which cities are actually in a position to adopt tomorrow’s technology?

This week’s internet of things (IoT) news featured a novel world-record attempt from Cork speedboat Thunder Child, which circumnavigated Ireland by taking the long way round via Rockall Island.

The entire journey was tracked using an array of IoT technologies and software based on 8 West Consulting’s SafeTrx Open Architecture. It included Irish companies VT Networks and HidnSeek, the latter being no stranger to

Thunder Child, a 17-metre, high-speed, wave-piercing, low-radar cross-section interceptor, set a new record time, travelling 2,069km in 34 hours.

Elsewhere, we learned about smartphones that don’t need batteries, with University of Washington researchers revealing a battery-free handset that is able to harvest the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light.

Volvo, meanwhile, has revealed that it will be phasing out the production of vehicles powered only by internal combustion engines. All cars produced after 2019 will be either fully electric or electric hybrids.

Meanwhile, a University of Limerick researcher has been announced as the recipient of a highly prestigious European Research Council Starting Grant. Electrochemist Dr Micheál Scanlon has been granted €1.5m to pioneer a new way of imitating photosynthesis in the leaves of plants to generate clean electricity or solar fuels such as hydrogen gas.

But what else did you miss this week?

UK puts its 5G money where its 5G mouth is

Three universities in the UK will be linked up in 5G testbeds, backed by a £16m government programme.

The investment will fund leading-edge technological developments at each of the three universities, linking the sites through design and research.

Bristol University will deploy 5G capability in the extensive Smart City and Smart Campus testbeds in the city, targeting full 5G and fibre infrastructure convergence. Public demonstrators will be the focus of delivery, targeting media, gaming and transport applications.

King’s College London is looking at ultra-low latency, 5G, tactile internet developments with ‘internet of skills’ applications.

University of Surrey, meanwhile, will lead the project and develop 5G radio technologies and a fully virtualised mobile core network at 3.5GHz and 700 MHz frequency bands.

“We want to be at the head of the field in 5G,” said the UK’s minister for digital, Matt Hancock.

“This funding will support the pioneering research needed to ensure we can harness the potential of this technology to spark innovation, create new jobs and boost the economy.”

Which cities are primed to a tech revolution?

PwC has looked into what it calls the readiness in major cities around the world, estimating how they can “respond to disruptive innovations” and adopt “technology-driven solutions”.

Highlighting areas such as healthcare, education, security, tourism and culture, transportation, the economy, utilities, urban development, and citizen engagement, the study was pretty detailed.

City readiness was assessed across several parameters: technology readiness (presence of basic infrastructure); the strategies and regulations that support the adoption and use of new infrastructure; the availability of finished prototypes; and the social readiness of citizens to use new technologies.

The top five cities are:

  • Singapore (62pc)
  • London (59pc)
  • Shanghai (55pc)
  • New York (53pc)
  • Moscow (53pc)

Ericsson partners with China Telecom

Ericsson and China Telecom have developed an IoT ‘open platform’, a global connection management service that will support China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy.

The duo claim it will accelerate the deployment of IoT solutions and services, and enable enterprises to deploy, control and scale the management of IoT devices through their own partnerships.

“The IoT market is growing very rapidly and we aim to use our expertise in this area to help our customers capitalise on this opportunity,” said Magnus Rahm, head of global service operations at Ericsson.

“Together with China Telecom, we can play a key role in realising the tremendous potential of the IoT by reinventing processes, creating new services and capturing new revenue.”

This will be powered by Ericsson’s own Device Connection Platform, originally launched in 2012.

Everyday IoT

An interesting project from ATTInternetService this week looked at the growing number of connected devices in the home.

The interactive infographic-type tool is a map of the interior of a house that allows users to see all of the internet-connected objects that can exist in different rooms.

Once they click on an object, they are shown the current device and what was used prior, along with a brief description of both and a small piece of ‘Did You Know’ trivia.

“My team is really excited with how the piece turned out and we hope that users will find it entertaining and educational,” said Gary Bell, communications associate at the company.

Singapore. Image: WAT K/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic