The U.K. Prime Minister is clearly a fan of the HAPIfork. At a speech at Europe’s CeBIT tech conference yesterday, David Cameron announced an additional £45 million in funding for research in areas linked to the Internet of Things (IoT) — taking the total pot of cash sloshing around the U.K. for helping to develop connected cutlery and the like to £73 million (factoring in a series of previous funding announcements in this area).
“I see the Internet of Things as a huge transformative development — a way of boosting productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs, tackling climate change,” said the PM in a speech in which he predicted the IoT will usher in a “new industrial revolution.”
“These are developments that could allow literally billions of everyday objects to talk to each other over the Internet – using low-cost, low-power chips. And this has enormous potential to change our lives,” Cameron continued.
“Electricity meters that talk to the grid to get you the best deals. Health monitors that keep an eye on your heart rate. Water pipes that warn of a fall in pressure.”
The majority of the new IoT money is being put up by the government-funded Technology Strategy Board and is being earmarked for spending on new projects that will be included in the TSB’s 2014/15 Delivery Plan — or else projects which launched during the closing months of the 2013/14 plan.
The funding breaks down into different IoT areas as follows — with “detailed scoping” of each initiative set to be released over the course of the year as individual competitions launch:
- Future Cities programme 2014/15 — £18.5M
- Enabling Technologies for energy 2014/5 — £3M
- Connected Freight — £4M
- Digital Health — £5M
- Location Based Services – £5M
- Reimagining the High St — £6M
- Secure Remote Working — £3.5M (EPSRC funding)
The U.K. PM also announced a £1 million ‘European Internet of Things’ grant fund aimed at supporting early-stage Internet of Things startups. This grant fund is separate to the £45 million detailed above, hence the £46M tally for this tranche of government IoT backing.
According to the TSB, the grant fund will be aimed at startups that are working on IoT ideas and are based in either the Shoreditch or Cambridge cluster. The government’s East London Tech City organisation will be running the grant fund in conjunction with the TSB.
Multiple grants will be awarded from the £1 million pot to startups with the most innovative ideas — likely between six and 20 grants in total. Mentoring and business development support is also part of the assistance package, as with previous TSB Launchpad competitions.
The U.K. PM also announced a plan for a new collaboration for developing 5G cellular network technology between the University of Dresden, King’s College University in London and the University of Surrey. Back in 2012, the latter institution secured government funding to establish a 5G R&D centre.