Digital Catapult joins Milton Keynes Internet of Things Demonstrator

Dr. Maurizio Pilu, partnerships director at the Digital Catapult, writes about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Catapult has signed for a new project collaboration to develop an open access, experimental, Internet of Things demonstrator in Milton Keynes.

We are delighted to have signed a MoU with Milton Keynes City Council, Neul, BT, the Open University and the Future Cities Catapult to explore the development of an experimental, city wide and open access Internet of Things (IoT) network based on the use of unlicensed wireless communications.

The project leverages the existing and recent £8m HEFCE-funded collaborative smart cities project in Milton Keynes (MK:Smart) led by the Open University. There is lots of activity in Milton Keynes at the moment; it’s a place where other catapults are inolved in some interesting projects, such as Transport Systems, who are working on autonomous vehicles.

Back to the IoT demonstrator, due to its potential low cost, high penetration (e.g. into buildings, underground) and low power consumption, the use of unlicensed spectrum (in particular TV whitespace) to connect sensors has the potential to disrupt the cost of deploying a new wave IoT applications across a city that are not possible today.

This approach is being tested elsewhere in the UK and the world and Ofcom is running a distributed trial across the UK. Within that broader context, the consortium is looking at experimenting with a city scale deployment.

The intention of the partners is for the demonstrator to become a fully open access facility for experimenters and innovators, as well as understanding issues related to scaling it up at city level.

The specific role and contribution of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult will be in stimulating and nurturing experimentation by IoT innovators, with the purpose of understanding the potential of the approach, business models, as well as translating and disseminating the learning into similar initiatives.

We look forward to the feasibility phase and we will keep you posted.

For more information on this project or to explore collaborations you can contact Maurizio at or on Twitter @maurizio_piluDon’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DigiCatapult.

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