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BT Tower is world's highest Internet of Things base station

Press Release   •  Dec 16, 2016 11:30 GMT

BT Tower

Low power long range radio device hosted in the building

BT Tower has become the highest building in the world to host an Internet of Things (IoT) base station, at a height of 180 metres. The iconic building now forms part of the expanding Things Connected network in London that was launched by Digital Catapult in September 2016.

BT has partnered with Digital Catapult and Everynet to help deliver the network and is supplying 25 of the 50 low power radio access base stations in London, known as LoRaWAN technology. Eighteen are currently in place and the rest will be installed this financial year. LoRaWAN allows internet enabled devices to use very low power resulting in long battery life and a long range, low cost solution ideal for delivering IoT applications.

Things Connected will be an open IoT testbed, free of charge for registered users across London. The network will be switched on in early 2017.

The Internet of Things is about everyday objects having network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data which will inform people’s decisions as they conduct their everyday lives. Some practical examples might include providing information about a building’s energy efficiency, which route someone should take when travelling or how to find an empty parking space.

Small businesses, start-ups and the local community in central London have been asked to submit ideas on the Digital Catapult website about how they plan to use the Things Connected network. This will encourage them to investigate how the IoT can transform their business or daily lives.

Chris Sims, MD Strategy, Marketing and Mobile, BT Wholesale & Ventures, said: “Installing the IoT base station at a record height on BT Tower will ensure the local area becomes a critical part of the Things Connected network. The network will be instrumental in bringing about London’s transformation as a truly smart city, advancing its position as one of the best places in the world to live, work and do business.”

Dr. Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “We’re delighted that the BT Tower will be one of the base stations for Things Connected, as we look to drive open innovation across the capital. Things Connected will allow us to drive IoT experimentation in areas such as traffic and transport services, energy management and environmental sensing. With the network to go live in early 2017, we are excited to create a blueprint for the use of LPWAN which can be used in cities across the UK to drive the adoption of IoT for businesses.”

Tracy Hopkins, GM EMEA, Everynet Ltd, said: “It is very exciting to have such an iconic location as a deployment site for the Things Connected network. London is leading innovation in the UK for LPWA. This network will not only enable SME’s to design and test cool end devices and applications, it will also allow ‘IoT use cases’ to be deployed that validate real end user value and demonstrate effective business models.”

Digital Catapult plans to extend the network across the rest of London with low power wide area network (LPWAN) technologies. It also intends to create similar networks in other parts of the UK.

Businesses and innovators interested in finding out how they can test their IoT innovations with Things Connected once the full network goes live can do so by visiting https://www.digitalcatapultcentre.org.uk/open-calls/things-connected/

Ends

Notes to editors

Further information about BT developments and projects on the Internet of Things:

BT is actively involved in a number of other major smart cities projects underway in the UK including in Milton Keynes, where sensors have been placed across the city to help people find a car parking space, avoid traffic congestion, monitor air quality and water usage and tell the council when refuse bins are full and need emptying, for example. BT has designed the MK Data Hub where data and real-time information are fed back from the sensors and analysed.

BT is also a leading technology partner on CityVerve, the Manchester IoT project part-funded by innovateUK (part of DCMS) and led by Manchester City Council. The project aims to create a blueprint for smarter cities in Manchester, the UK and around the world and focuses on the themes of transport, health and social care, energy and the environment, and culture and the public realm. BT’s expertise will be used to ensure that data is available from a wide range of sources through the innovative IoT data hub.

The business is also busy developing new products which incorporate IoT capabilities. These include the new LinkUK from BT kiosks developed in partnership with Intersection and Primesight which mark the next evolution of BT’s traditional payphone service by offering free 1Gbps Wi-Fi access and calls, a range of online services, charging points for digital devices and digital advertising. The new kiosks are also IoT ready, with the capability to include sensors that can measure local air quality, traffic flows, footfall in an area and peak usage times, for example.

BT’s Pelipod smart locker system which enables companies with large field forces to speed up and simplify their supply chain is also based on IoT technology. The solution enables the tracking of deliveries and supplies, helping companies to better manage their inventory of stock and allocation of resources, leading to improved customer service levels.

BT has also founded the IoT Security Foundation with leading partners from the UK and around the world to establish security specifications for the industry.

About Digital Catapult

Digital Catapult is here to help grow the UK digital economy by working with SMEs to help them grow and scale faster and helping larger corporates in their digital transformation. It does this through programmes of collaboration and open innovation, by bringing academic leading edge expertise into the mix combined with the organisation’s own business and technological expertise.

Find out more at: www.digicatapult.org.uk

About Everynet

Everynet is a global leader in IoT connectivity, the first with a complete end to end offering, the first with an integrated application library who have a mission to connect a “billion things”. Providing low cost network infrastructure and an IoT Network Platform that offers world leading IP. An Innovative Partner Program that can facilitate participation in a Global Shared Network ensuring that devices are not limited by lack of coverage and a disruptive business model. Everynet believe that the two key barriers to large scale IoT deployment are cost and end device availability and work with partners across the value chain to offer a simple ‘out of the box’ experience, with networks in 10 countries and over 30 cities these barriers are already falling.

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com