Scotland’s national IoT network gathering momentum

Scott McEwan CE of Boston Networks

THE UK’S most advanced Internet of Things network is now well established in Scotland, with Glasgow and Edinburgh at almost 100% coverage.

Boston Networks, the smart integrated solutions business behind the delivery of Scotland’s £6m network, said today that substantial inroads have been made in installing the wireless infrastructure required to deliver Scotland’s National Internet of Things (IoT) network.

IoT Scotland is a wide-area sensor network for applications and services to collect data from devices and send that data without the need for cellular or Wi-fi, or even human involvement, effectively merging the physical and digital worlds.

Coverage of 99.7% has been achieved in Glasgow and 95% in Edinburgh, offering public and private sector organisations across the Central Belt an opportunity to access smart technologies that deliver cost and time efficiencies and provide data insights, at very low cost.

Boston Networks CEO, Scott McEwan said: “We are delighted to have successfully established IoT Scotland across our two largest cities and are excited about the roll-out taking place in our local authority areas across the country.

“Never before have businesses and public sector bodies been able to access an advanced and extensive network like this. There has been significant interest regarding how this technology could be used to gather data and make organisations more efficient and productive.

 “The IoT network will revolutionise how we use smart technologies here in Scotland, with significant benefits for organisations of all sizes and their clients, all at very low cost.”

The benefits of IoT will not be restricted to Scotland’s most populous cities – networks are already up and running in Argyll & Bute and the Western Isles, with the Scottish Borders, Stirling, Perth, Orkney, Aberdeenshire and Dundee all on track to be completed in November.

By the end of November, over 30% of businesses, six local authorities and almost 1.4m people will have access to affordable and reliable IoT connectivity across Scotland.

In addition, advanced discussions are underway, and surveys complete to roll out to a further seven local authority areas within six months.

Scotland’s £6m network will be the most advanced in the UK and is part-funded by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, plus private investment from Boston Networks itself.

Scottish Government Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, Kate Forbes, praised the progress made so far. 

She said: “The Internet of Things is a transformative technology which presents an exciting opportunity for Scotland’s public services, our businesses and our people.

“Today’s announcement is another step towards Scotland becoming a leader in innovative new technologies and underlines the progress that is being made in achieving widespread access to low-cost next-generation connectivity.”

Collaborations are ongoing with a number of organisations and local authorities keen to take advantage of the wide-ranging benefits and efficiencies IoT can offer.  These include environmental monitoring for a major utilities company, water monitoring for several local authority organisations, and a smart building trial for a facilities management company.

Several major housing associations are already on board, keen to explore the cost efficiencies and health benefits that proactive monitoring of social housing offers.

Eildon Housing Association has 2500 properties across the Scottish Borders and provide housing, care and support services to people in the region.

Eildon Chief Executive Nile Istephan said: “We are proud to be helping to make IoT connectivity available.  It will bring benefits to us as an organisation, benefits to our tenants and also benefits to the wider Scottish Borders community”.

“We’re aware of IoT enabled technologies coming on stream that could allow us to improve the efficiency of processes, the cost-effectiveness of services and help in making the lives of our tenants easier.  

“For example, automated heating and environmental control systems that constantly monitor and report any potential issues, or smart technologies monitoring the wellbeing of residents, perhaps enabling them to remain at home or be allowed home from hospital sooner than might otherwise have been the case.

“By helping to facilitate this local network we can pave the way for not only our organisation but others across the region to make use of these smart technologies.”

The Internet of Things refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data.

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