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Driving the value of the UK Internet of Things market

Posted on: Sunday 14th of April 2013

Ctrl-Shift is kicking off a groundbreaking year long project helping to shape and develop the UK Internet of Things market. It will be a voyage of discovery where we will apply our expertise in how to catalyse data led value opportunities for businesses.

We are part of a winning consortium announced by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the UK’s innovation agency, that will create and deliver an Internet of Things ‘cluster’. TSB is investing £6.2 million in eight of these ‘clusters’ across the UK with the aim of ensuring the country is at the forefront of the new and burgeoning Internet of Things market which many forecast has huge economic growth potential.

The vision for the Internet of Things is for an interconnected network of ‘smart’ devices embedded in objects – from sensors on roads or vehicles to clothing, home appliances, smart meters and medical equipment – all generating useful data and information and ‘talking’ to each other.

A vast array of everyday objects are now being designed with inbuilt sensors such as ‘connected cars’, sensor equipped heating, even rubbish bins – and Personal Information Management Services that enable people to connect to use this data via smart devices are fast developing. The benefits are easy to see in terms of enabling improved decision making, greater convenience and new efficiencies.

However, in order to realise the full potential there are still many challenges that need to be understood and overcome particularly around data integration and interoperability, along with issues relating to personal data sharing including privacy and security. Hence the TSB has stepped in to “help industry address issues such as ecosystem development, validating business models, interoperability, data availability, trust and cost.”


Our consortium, led by BT and also including Dartt, Aimes Grid Services and Cambridge University, will focus on initiating and sustaining a Smart Transport Internet of Things Data Ecosystem (STRIDE) based on the transport and logistics sector in the East of England. Transport was chosen because of its significant social, environmental and economic impact and the potential of driving new value and efficiencies in the transport system through the secure sharing, trading and use of data assets. The East of England region contains strategically important trunk routes including the A12 and A14 and connections to the Port of Felixstowe so it is a particularly interesting and useful test bed.

Ctrl-Shift worked closely with BT last year on a TSB funded preliminary research phase (the results of which TSB has fed into this new ‘cluster’ programme) also focused on this region. During this research we talked to stakeholders including transport infrastructure providers such as Isotrak, logistics management companies like Turners, Utilities, Councils, the Police, and the Highways Agency to explore the commercial, legal and technological barriers as well as the opportunities of a future Internet of Things transport scenario. We defined an end-to-end digital asset value chain and an approach which can be used to develop a business case for data sharing and to redefine business models to create entirely new ways of generating value.

Now we are taking the learnings from this to the next level to create a sustainable, thriving, ‘smart’ transport and logistics ecosystem enabled through trusted data sharing and applications. Many of the same organisations we hope will support STRIDE and share their data as part of the ‘cluster’. We’ll also be reaching out to other organisations to take part, highlighting the value and opportunities to them of being involved.

BT’s Information Hub

To enable effective collaboration BT will establish their Information Hub at the heart of the ‘cluster’. The Hub will enable all the data to be gathered, sourced and distributed and it will also act as a trusted broker providing the stabilising trust and commercial framework for data sharing. The Hub is what we call an Information Logistics Platform (see our report here). It is a key enabler for STRIDE to function and BT has significant expertise having recently launched a global information logistics service, BT Trace, which Ctrl-Shift was also involved with at the innovation, vision and definition phase.

Novel and really useful applications will be developed using the data in STRIDE to demonstrate value. These include apps for Journey Time Prediction, Incident System and Driver Behaviour. The Incident System app will enable automatic exchange of real time information about road incidents helping travellers and road users avoid delays and frustration. Journey Time Prediction will enable logistics and haulage businesses, and individual drivers, to access real time information and predictive analysis of data so they can plan effectively, avoid delays and make better use of our roads.

Business models for the Internet of Things

Throughout the year Ctrl-Shift will be working closely with all stakeholders to explore and define the relevant business case for participants and the business models that unlock the value of the Internet of Things for the transport market transforming how we travel and how our roads are used. One of TSB’s key requirements is that all the eight clusters funded “have to link to each other to demonstrate the potential for interoperability.” We’ll be ensuring that our learnings are shared widely and the results will be published to inform the market as the ‘cluster’ progresses. We will also provide regular updates on our blog and website so please keep a watch here too.