Cambridge Project Pits ‘Internet Of Things’ Against The Weather

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Cambridge Wireless has started an ‘Internet of Things’ project, which could help people better cope with extreme weather

Cambridge Wireless, a forum of wireless companies, is starting a project which will look at how data collection and sharing could help the UK in times of severe weather.

The multi-company research project is based around sharing transport and health data by wireless, and will have £50,000 of funding  from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board’s Internet of Things (IoT) Convergence initiative.

Internet Of Things

For those not in the know, the ‘Internet of Things‘ describes the trend for environments, buildings, vehicles, clothing, portable devices and other objects to have more and more information associated with them and/or the ability to sense, communicate, network and produce new information.

The thinking is that a widespread ‘Internet of Things’ could transform how we live in our cities, how we travel, how we manage our lives sustainably, how we age and how services and entertainment adapts as our surroundings change.

Big company versions of the Internet of Things idea include IBM’s Smart Planet, and HP’s project to push sensor networks wherever possible.

The data sharing initiative in the meantime seeks to explore how data can be shared in order to reduce the impact of severe weather on individuals, utilities, transport and the UK economy in general. It comes after three successive years of heavy snow storms during the winter season, which caused widespread disruption.

Travel Information

But what exactly is the funding for? Well it seems that the funding will be used to eventually develop an IoT application and services marketplace. However before that the funding will be used to examine how data is collected from environments, buildings, vehicles, clothing, portable devices and other objects.

This data will then “be shared over the internet to transform how people manage their lives and travel sustainably, and how services and entertainment can adapt dynamically as surroundings change,” said Cambridge Wireless.

Cambridge Wireless is leading the project, but partners include The University of Bath Department of Computer Science; Docobo; Secure Controls; SciSys; Personal Information Broker-Development and Bathcube.

Data Sharing Holdup

“The Internet of Things is seen by most analysts as a major driver of new service and business revenues but is being held back by lack of data sharing,” said Graham Fisher, the Cambridge Wireless board member managing the project.

“For example, data from smart meters or road traffic surveillance cameras are used for one isolated application and not available for general use,” said Fisher. “The future is a ‘converged IoT’ world where real value can be obtained by sharing data and creating a sustainable marketplace for innovative applications and services.”

The Technology Strategy Board will invest up to £4 million later in 2012 in a further funding competition, after this initial phase has been completed.

Cambridge Wireless believes that bringing together academic computer scientists and leading commercial data processing experts to investigate the realization of an ‘information broker’ system, delivering a secure data interchange market, will put them in a strong position for next ‘demonstrator’project phase.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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