New CENSIS-led initiative to accelerate Scotland’s IoT capabilities

Paul Winstanley, Chief Executive of CENSIS

A NEW programme of activity is set to boost Scotland’s adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and support the country’s burgeoning tech sector, through the development of innovative new cyber security products and services.

The initiative will be announced later today by Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, at CENSIS’s sixth annual Technology Summit in Glasgow. The conference is expected to attract more than 500 private and public sector delegates from across the UK and further afield.

Led by CENSIS In partnership with the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, the IoT Cyber Accelerator programme will help businesses and developers enhance the resilience of IoT networks and devices, through new products and approaches to cyber security. Up to five companies will be selected following a competitive process for the six-month programme, which will include tailored support from CENSIS and Scottish Enterprise to turn ideas into fully realised products or services.

A series of workshops will be held for businesses from a range of sectors to find out more and begin to address challenges or identify opportunities within IoT. As part of the programme, CENSIS has also partnered with Abertay University to deliver an IoT vulnerability study that will expose risks or flaws in the design of IoT devices – the outcomes will be used to develop or refine best-practice guidelines.

Minister for Digital Economy Kate Forbes said: “The challenge of building security and resilience into digital products and services is something that is being wrestled with on a global stage. I’m delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting CENSIS and Scottish Enterprise to deliver this programme of activity which will see Scotland at the forefront of these developments. 

“We have an ambitious cyber resilience strategy, which at its core is about making Scotland a safe place to live, learn and do business. Developing robust technology, in Scotland, rooted in principles of quality and trust, goes hand in hand with that.”

With IoT becoming increasingly pervasive, CENSIS will also announce the launch of three ‘IoT2Go’ development kits at today’s Technology Summit. Using off the shelf hardware, the kits – for indoor, outdoor and imaging applications – are ‘plug and play’ boxes that give organisations a chance to experiment and build their own complete IoT network. They can be used by people with no coding or technical experience.

The kits are expected to help build on the diverse range of IoT projects CENSIS already has underway across Scotland. Among them, CENSIS and NHS Highland are developing a testbed to trial non-clinical IoT applications within the health board’s estate, including building maintenance and asset tracking. The Innovation Centre is also partnering with the Local Government Digital Office to help increase understanding and uptake of IoT technologies across local government.

Delegates at the sixth CENSIS Technology Summit will hear from leading voices in the IoT and sensing and imaging systems sectors. Among the speakers are Evan Cummack, head of IoT Business at Twilio, and Jan Jongboom, founder and chief technology officer at Silicon Valley machine learning start-up Edge Impulse. The conference, chaired by former BBC Scotland weather forecaster and meteorologist Heather Reid OBE, takes place at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.

Paul Winstanley, Chief Executive of CENSIS, said: “IoT technologies are quickly becoming ubiquitous – if they don’t already affect your business, they soon will. It’s highly encouraging to see so many projects and initiatives underway which involve helping companies to adopt IoT and realise the benefits it can offer – Scotland is very much leading the way and the IoT Cyber Accelerator can underpin its growth across the country.

“Our IoT2Go kits are designed so that anyone can build and use a network in their business. We’re already exploring some of the transformative effects access to IoT can have for services providers in the public sector, along with other areas like this which are not necessarily immediately associated with technology.

“Now in its sixth year, our Technology Summit has grown from strength to strength and we are looking forward to what will be a highly informative and valuable day for everyone with an interest in Scottish technology.”

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