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In brief …. 7 January 2016



Future Cities tests dynamic parks signage

Future Cities Catapult has called for local authorities, businesses and researchers to become involved in trying out dynamic signage in urban parks.

blogpost by John Lynch, the project lead for product and service design, says the organisation would like to hear from anyone interested in demonstrating the technology.

Dynamic signage can be used in communicating with people who use the parks, and uses less energy and creates less 'visual noise' than LED displays. Lynch says it is developing further as material that powers the displays on e-readers and smartwatches is becoming available for use in signs, and that it could be valuable in parks in reducing the nuisance factor from signage.

It also has potential in providing actuators, which can prompt people to change their behaviour.


Government backs IoT research

A group of universities is to set up a research hub for work on the internet of things (IoT) with funding that includes £9.8 mi8llion over the next three years from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSCR).

Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture and the digital economy, said the Petras consortium of nine universities will lead the work, exploring issues around privacy, ethics, trust, acceptability and security. Funding from partners will add a further £23 million.

Workstreams will cover infrastructure, health and care, control systems and supply chains, ambient environments, identification, transport and mobility, and design and behaviour. Each will have a technical and a social science lead.

“The UK has the potential to be the world’s most supportive environment for the development and deployment of a safe and secure internet of things,” said hub director Professor Jeremy Watson. “We will raise the bar using innovative collaborative and interdisciplinary research methods.”

Wales boosts superfast broadband take-up ...

The Welsh Government has expanded two schemes aimed at increasing the number of people with access to superfast broadband.

It is making its Access Broadband Cymru scheme available to homes and businesses that do not have a superfast connection for the next two years. This will provide them with funds for installation costs, with two levels of support depending on the speeds provided - £400 for 10Mbps and £800 for 30Mbps.

It is also opening up its Ultrafast Connectivity Voucher programme to businesses to meet the initial capital costs in installing the connections. The maximum grant available is £10,000.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said:“These two expanded schemes, together with Superfast Cymru, our project to provide wireless broadband to 2,000 premises on business parks and industrial estates, and the commercial roll out by private companies, will make superfast speeds available to all homes and businesses across Wales.”

… and UK roll out continues

More than 3.5 million homes and businesses have now been reached by the government’s nationwide roll out of superfast broadband, according to figures published at the end of last month.

This means nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK have access to superfast speeds of more than 24 Mbps, and the programme is expected to pass the 4 million milestone by the spring.

Eastern Cheshire looks for diabetes tech

Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group has launched an invitation to tender for a diabetes service that will include technology to help people manager their condition at home. It plans to award contracts by March and to make the integrated diabetes service accessible to patients throughout the area.

The other elements of the programme cover specialist joined up care in hospitals, GP practices and clinics, and lifestyle advice.


Image from Future Cities Catapult, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence

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