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August 20, 2014

How the UK government is investing £1.6m in IoT standard Hypercat

The funding brings the total figure up to £8m.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The UK government’s Technology Strategy Board has announced an extra £1.6m of funding for its Internet of Things (IoT) standard, Hypercat, bringing the total figure up to £8m.

The challenge with the IoT is interoperability – that is allowing devices to understand each other’s data regardless of location, manufacturer or format, according to the cross-industry consortium behind the Hypercat standard.

Hypercat is a thin interoperability layer that aims to solve this problem by allowing devices, such as lamp posts and smart meters, to interact with each other.

"In the same way that Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s world wide web specification unlocked the potential of the internet, the HyperCat specification will unlock the full potential of the internet of things by creating a world wide web for machines," IoT firm and consortium member, Flexeye, said in a statement today.

"This will irreversibly change how, why and in what way we all work and play, bringing with it pivotal changes in industry and business structures."

Jonny Voon, lead technologist for Internet Technology at TSB, told CBR the aim of Hypercat is to bring it into the commercial world.

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"Hence why the outreach into not just the IoT world but the greater business community," he said in an interview.

"How do regular businesses make use of the IoT? How do they make use of the data being made available through Hypercat? And how do existing IoT vendors use Hypercat to discover other services that other people are using as well. So the aim is to take Hypercat and scale it out," he said.

He pointed to businesses is in healthcare, transport, agriculture and logistics in particular.

"Those are the areas that the government’s office for science have identified. So looking at specific verticals and specific use cases within those verticals."

He added: "The challenge is trying to add value and to convey what value IoT has for a business. Say if you’re talking to a farmer – what value does IoT for that? Because if you start talking about sensors and big data and meta data, then it’s lost on someone in farming."

Flexeye’s CEO Justin Anderson added: "As new entrants to the IoT market strive to deliver revolutionary solutions at an extraordinary pace, HyperCat will ensure that these players can securely speak a common language.

"The UK has an opportunity now, through HyperCat, to be central to the IoT revolution, levelling the playing field with the ubiquitous American giants and inspiring British industry to deliver £100 billion of value by 2020 – Great Britain can grow back its industrial teeth.

"The Government’s investment of £1.6 million will support the UK economy by creating new jobs and attracting foreign investment to our shores."

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