Government launches new IoT research hub

Black IoT blocks on wooden desk

The PETRAS consortium of nine top universities in the UK will launch a new Internet of Things (IoT) research hub, set to explore and drive innovation in areas such as privacy, ethics, reliability and security over three years.

The hub was announced by the minister of state for culture and the digital economy, Ed Vaizey, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and partner contributions amounting to approximately 23 million.

Ed Vaizey said: "UK universities are renowned for their creativity, and pioneering research and development. We want the UK to be a world leader in the adoption of Internet of Things technologies, and I know that bringing these universities together with partners from the UK's thriving tech industry will be instrumental in making this a reality."

The project is part of the 40 million government programme, IoTUK, which will work to drive the UK's position as a global leader in IoT and increase adoption of smart technologies and services across UK business and the public sector.

"In the not too distant future almost all of our daily lives will be connected, in one way or another, to the digital world," said Professor Philip Nelson, chief executive of EPSRC, said. "Physical objects and devices will be able to interact with each other, ourselves, and the wider virtual world.

"But, before this can happen, there must be trust and confidence in how the Internet of Things works, its security and its resilience. By harnessing our world-leading research excellence this PETRAS research hub will accelerate IoT technology innovation and bring benefit to society and business."

The nine universities taking part in the project are led by UCL and include Imperial College London, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Lancaster University, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University, alongside more than 47 industry and public sector bodies.

Professor Jeremy Watson, hub director and vice-dean of UCL engineering, said: "We will maximise the economic and societal opportunities of the Internet of Things by removing barriers to adoption. Working with business, public, and third sectors will enable the PETRAS IoT hub members to investigate questions of safety, security, privacy and trust within real life settings.

"The UK has the potential to be the world's most supportive environment for the development and deployment of a safe and secure Internet of Things. We will raise the bar using innovative collaborative and interdisciplinary research methods."

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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