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IoT – Levelling the playing field

We have all witnessed the phenomenal journey and growth that tech based companies such as Amazon, Google and Alibaba have undergone emerging as multi-billion dollar corporates and leaders in their own specific areas. This was all possible because of the Internet and the way it levels the playing field when it comes to the accessibility and use of new technologies, and the speed and agility that SME’s and start-ups can deliver when bringing new services and solutions to market.

Look at the sheer uptake of internet connected smart devices and how the public used freely available apps like facetime and skype to communicate with their friends and family. This sheer growth and acceptance of a new means of communicating, in turn put pressure on and drove the demand for this richness of communication and collaboration to be available within the workplace. The personal world driving and shaping the business world was previously unheard of before this.

The world is a changing – and an important factor in whether today’s businesses succeed is all about how agile and willing they are to embrace change and their ability to roll with the never-ending technology punches.

The Internet of Things is here and the opportunities that it offers are boundless. What is so exciting about the opportunity offered by the Internet of Things is that they are equally open to the small start-up, entrepreneurs, innovative SME’s and global corporates. In fact, as highlighted above the more agile you are, with less ‘baggage’, the greater the ability you have to steer a course to success.

As an SME, that is exactly what Pinacl is doing, and on our path to success we want to encourage, help and collaborate with other likeminded companies and individuals.

Within Pinacl, we are driving forward the Smart City initiative, which we believe is essential in nurturing the evolution of IoT, and strangely enough for a technology based company we aren’t leading this charge with bits, bytes and Mbps. Technology is the enabler it is not the solution. The real opportunity for a Smart environment (environment - because its’ not just for Cities, its equally relevant for Towns, Villages, campuses and rural environments) is to engage with the people within those environments and ask them what their main challenges are, what they would like to do, but can’t, what they would like to change, but didn’t think was possible. Facilitate that free thinking, unbridled blue sky thinking that children find so easy, but as adults, for some reason, we have lost. Take all those what-if’s, if-only’s and imagine if’s and turn them into the art of the possible by correctly applying Technology.

We have a very simple approach to Smart Environments – and implementing the correct infrastructure, we fell is key. It should be flexible, scalable, reliable, cost effective and ideally last a long time. In addition, and equally as important it should be based on an open access approach, which encourages competition and removes barriers – which is always a good thing. Just look at how open source software has changed the world of application and software development and you can see that adopting an open access approach can only be beneficial.

The core foundation of a Smart Environment is a dark fibre network – offering unlimited bandwidth, security, open standards, future proofing and the ability to share wavelengths and fibres with other interested parties – on an open access basis.

The next layers sit above the fibre and consist of multiple wireless networks. This layer is multi-faceted and can deliver true pervasive connectivity, from public and private WiFi, licensed and unlicensed radio, 3G, 4G or the upcoming 5G mobile networks and  through to the various emerging Low Power Wide Area Networks such as LoRaWAN, wireless connectivity.

Pinacl is working closely with several major UK Cities, including Aberdeen, Newport and York, assisting and advising them on how best to deliver their Smart City vision. We recently selected Newport as the first of many UK cities that will benefit from a LoRaWAN based IoT network. Newport was an ideal choice as it complements the existing City-wide dark fibre network and public WiFi service, providing us, once the LoRaWAN network is deployed with a fully built and operational ‘Smart City’ solution.

We are delivering several proof of concept ‘smart solutions’ that will benefit Newport City Council and the local citizens, whilst also supporting a ‘living lab’ environment. We want to encourage academics, innovative companies and entrepreneurs to trial new smart products in a real-life urban environment.

As outlined at the start of this article, just as the Internet was the catalyst for change for how we all now buy products and services, and how it was pivotal in propelling Internet- savvy start-up companies into the business stratosphere, then IoT is opening up the art of the possible and levelling the playing field for companies big and small. The opportunity is here and recent history shows that actually the smaller more agile companies will have far greater success.

Get on the IoT pitch with Pinacl – it’s never been a better time to punch well above yourweight.

 

Blog prepared by: Alasdair Rettie, Technical Director