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December 11, 2014

Internet of Things arrives in the UK countryside

Lancaster University secures £170,000 funding to carry out rural IoT project.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Researchers at Lancaster University are looking to make the countryside more intelligent, after winning more than £170,000 in funding from the government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The university is working with partners at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, The British Geological Survey and Bangor University on an 18-month project in Conwy, North Wales, based on the Internet of Things.

IoT, first coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, a project manager at Belkin’s cleantech division, refers to a world where devices and machines can communicate with each other, interpret information and make smart decisions in real time as more and more devices connect to the internet.

Launched on the 1st December, the project hopes to apply the technology to solve problems including flooding, agricultural pollution and drought.

Gordon Blair, a computer scientist Professor at Lancaster University, said: "Cities have been the focus of much of the boom in this type of technology – it has been used to keep traffic flowing on our roads, monitor air pollution and even help us find a parking spot on a busy Saturday afternoon.

"But the countryside faces challenges of its own, from subtle environmental changes to catastrophic events such as flooding. The possibilities of bringing the Internet of Things to the countryside are limitless. The next step will be to identify exactly what will be of most use in the short term and how we will frame the project."

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