A consortium which includes CENSIS, Stream Technologies, and Boston Networks, will work with local partners to deploy low power wide area network technology, known as LoRa – a type of IoT network.
Allowing a host of everyday, even small and battery-powered, objects to send and receive data efficiently and reliably, the LoRa network will enable companies, communities, and public services to develop a range of new products and services.
Deployed in urban and rural environments, for example, the network could be used to develop building and indoor environmental monitors, pollution sensors, tags for tracking valuable assets or livestock, and social care devices designed to support independent and assisted living.
News of the initiative comes as Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for the rural economy and connectivity, announced yesterday (26 Oct) at a Westminster Forum conference the Scottish Government’s commitment to exploring ways of making the country a leader in IoT technologies.
Mark Begbie, business development director at CENSIS, said: "Scotland has all the ingredients required to be a world-class digital location. As we roll out LoRa across the country, the affordable, open networks will give SMEs low-cost access to next-generation connectivity, helping them to grow through the development of new solutions and devices with global export potential.
"These new IoT networks will be a force for public good too, through the monitoring and protection of the vulnerable in society, as well as our historic sites and the environment. At the same time, they will open up opportunities for communities to develop their own solutions across a diverse set of potential applications.
"As we look to roll out the network through more urban and rural areas in Scotland, it will create a great deal of exciting opportunities for businesses and government across the country. It will also further our understanding of the potential benefits of this technology in both urban and rural economies. The IoT has the potential to be as disruptive as the internet has been already to daily life."
Earlier this year, the consortium established LoRa networks in Glasgow and Inverness, the latter as part of Inverness Campus’s £13m An Lòchran building. An Lòchran houses Scotland’s first digital demonstration centre, #hellodigital, to help people in business, education, and research across the Highlands and Islands make the most of broadband, IoT, and digital technologies.