Digital Catapult, a technology innovation company partially funded by the UK government, has launched Things Connected: a city-wide, free to use IoT network in London.

Things Connected was developed by Digital Catapult to help drive innovation and adoption of IoT technologies throughout the city. The company has plans to roll out similar networks throughout the UK.

“Things Connected is starting in London but we want it to cover the UK,” said Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult. “We aim to roll Things Connected out to help remove the barriers to IoT technology for businesses, and create new revenue opportunities for entrepreneurs and for smaller and larger companies.”

The initial Things Connected rollout is comprised of 50 LoRaWAN base stations across the city, which will be free to use. This will provide the basis for initial testing of the system, the largest free IoT network in the UK. In the future, additional LPWAN technologies will be added to the London network as it is established and improved, and similar networks will then be launched in cities across the UK.

In the press release announcing the Things Connected launch, Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said, “London is already a global force in the tech and digital industries but if we are to stay competitive, increase productivity and make the most of opportunities for growth in this crucial sector, innovation is key. Digital Catapult Things Connected will help to drive business innovation by embracing Internet of Things technologies across London.”

“By continuing to make our city smart and connected,” he continued, “We are showing that London is Open as we work to improve the lives and wellbeing of many by tackling the big issues we face in healthcare, transport, and energy.”

Things Connected is intended to have many practical applications from the outset. These include lessening travel risk for vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, by connecting data from multiple sensors to suggest safest routes; improving the quality of life for COPD and asthma sufferers by providing updated air quality information; and optimizing delivery drones using micro wind speed and turbulence sensors.

Digital Catapult will be collaborating with British Telecom, Imperial College London, King’s College London and Beecham Research, among others, in the operation and expansion of Things Connected.