THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the London Digital Catapult centre has warned that the UK needs to ramp up development for the "huge revolution" that is the Internet of Things (IoT) or risk "losing out in the global race".
Neil Crockett said at an open event at the government-backed Digital Catapult Centre that a failure to develop IoT test beds will push investors and big British companies away from the UK to areas such as Asia and the US.
"There is a huge amount of innovation coming [and] the IoT is a revolution that the UK should be a leader in. We have all the assets and all the strengths to do it," he said.
"We have world-class research at universities, an inventive entrepreneurial environment, and real strength in data science. We are good at this. It should really be an area of strength for us."
Crockett warned that without a joined-up approach in terms of research and development, and large-scale test beds and demonstrators, the UK will lose out on IoT investment opportunities.
Test beds are particularly important for the UK because it is only when people "get out and test ideas in what will be a legacy environment" that interoperability problems come to light.
"If you want to attract global capital and the big global players to work with UK innovators you've got to have investment, like government and big business in IoT test beds in China, India and Korea," said Crockett.
"If we don't take this opportunity we will once again create the ideas that everyone else commercialises."
The Digital Catapult Centre opened in London on 5 November to help small tech firms develop digital ideas in the capital and across the UK.
Located in King's Cross, the centre is part of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult funded by the government's Innovate UK initiative, formerly the Technology Strategy Board.
The facility provides entrepreneurs, SMEs, researchers and corporate organisations with a space to meet and collaborate on development projects.
The idea is to advance the UK's best digital ideas by bringing data to the forefront of the digital industry with a focus on four major challenges: trust and personal data; the IoT; building diverse datasets; and reducing licensing friction.
The centre has had 1,500 businesses through its doors in the three weeks since opening. µ
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