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Boosting open-access to the Internet of Things (IoT)

Digital Catapult’s open access low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) testbed is helping UK Sigfox operator, WNDUK roll-out its narrowband network to achieve 95% UK population coverage by 2019. This has accelerated access to deployment sites, funding and connections, benefitting over 50 startups and scaleups.

national coverage by 2019
startups and scaleups engaged

Collaborating with Digital Catapult has really helped to accelerate the rollout of our LPWAN network, which now covers 82% of the UK.

Tim Harris

Expediting products and services with free resources

Low power wide area networks (LPWAN) allow connected devices such as sensors to communicate small amounts of data over large distances using low power; from monitoring footfall at an event to tracking military assets. It allows a battery-powered device to send data for years without needing to be replaced.

The Things Connected programme – which has created an open-access LPWAN testbed specifically designed to drive open innovation by giving small businesses the opportunity to experiment with the Internet of Things (IoT) – is one of the foundation blocks of the Digital Catapult’s work in loT.

Digital Catapult worked with WNDUK to help solve the challenges it faced in rolling out a Sigfox network in the UK: starting from scratch WNDUK needed to quickly acquire a large number of sites from where it could deploy base stations across the UK to establish the Sigfox network.
WNDUK gained access to these deployment sites for base stations and established connections with Innovative UK startups and scaleups, developing solutions using Sigfox.

As a result, WNDUK offered its entire UK network free of charge to startups and small businesses that are part of the Things Connected programme for experimentation. Digital Catapult provided WNDUK and its partners with access to £140,000 in funding and expertise to run innovation programmes, engaging with over 50 startups as a result and has been critical in fast-tracking the development of the resulting IoT products and services.