The Future Networks Lab provides a place for startups, corporations and network platform providers to collaborate through access to technical expertise, innovation support and advanced digital infrastructure facilities including all leading LPWAN technologies (including LoRaWAN, SigFox, NB-IoT and LTE-M), and a 5G node that builds on the success of Digital Catapult’s Brighton 5G testbed launched in September 2018.
Digital Catapult and its partners Siemens, BT, PTC, IBM, ServiceNow, Semtech and Texas Instruments will use the Future Networks Lab to demonstrate the practical application of their own IoT solutions and products, showcasing how organisations of all sizes can fully exploit the potential of these technologies at scale.
To help solve these challenges and provide more opportunities to create network connectivity solutions proven in the field, the Future Networks Lab has been designed to support UK businesses of all sizes to research, develop and adopt the latest network solutions and prototypes in a dedicated space for open innovation.
Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “Today’s companies need modern, efficient and resilient technological infrastructure. Digital Catapult’s new Future Networks Lab will provide some of the key building blocks to help unlock that developing infrastructure and the new services which will run on it. We’re excited to launch this new facility alongside some of Britain’s leading players. Together, we are helping companies of all sizes access the latest IoT enabling technologies, developing collaboration opportunities and running programmes which will bring all sorts of experts together in an inspiring space.”
Margot James, Minister for Digital, said: "We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G and our groundbreaking testbeds and trials set up across the country will make that possible. The Future Networks Lab will help drive innovative and ongoing collaboration between industry and business, so that we can realise the revolutionary benefits of 5G and Internet of Things technology."
Juergen Maier CBE, CEO, Siemens UK, said: “The Future Networks Lab can play a vital role in the fourth industrial revolution where practical experimentation can show the potential of new digital technologies. We’re delighted to partner with the Digital Catapult in making our Made Smarter digital revolution a reality for businesses across the capital and beyond,”
Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise business, said: “BT aims to be a leader in delivering 5G and IoT networks and services to UK businesses and the public sector. We’ve already conducted the UK’s first live trials of 5G with services set to launch across 16 cities initially this year. And we’re actively helping customers across the transport, logistics, utilities and retail sectors transform their operations through intelligent IoT solutions, for example, Stobart Group’s Rail & Civils Division. Collaboration with an ecosystem of partners and tech start-ups is key to success in this space. So we’re pleased to be underpinning Digital Catapult’s Things Connected Network in London and extending our partnership through the new Future Networks Lab to encourage further innovation in 5G and IoT.”
Future networks technologies such as LPWAN and 5G have the potential to radically transform industrial processes but their application does not need to be limited. Industries across the public and private sectors could see huge benefits by embracing advanced digital technologies which help build connectivity, streamline process and iron out inefficiencies in quality control, asset tracking and management.