The initiative which is funded by the Technology Strategy Board has at its centre the creation of a new open IoT specification. Called HyperCat, it is designed to support software interoperability, allowing applications to search for data and resources are available on a specific data hub, or across the Internet.
It is the result of 12 months work and with £6.4m funding involving companies such as ARM, BT and IBM with UK start-ups and universities.
“HyperCat has been designed to move us from the ‘internet of silos’ to the internet of things,” said Pilgrim Beart, CEO of IoT start-up 1248.
“Previously, applications were vertically-integrated, working only with specific services, which confines data to narrow vertical silos. HyperCat enables apps to discover data across all services, freeing machines from the human programmer bottleneck and allowing a many-to-many relationship to develop, which is the key to IoT.”
The government hopes this initiative and investment will help give UK companies a leadership position in IoT and in turn support the UK economy by creating new jobs and attracting foreign investment to the UK.
The project has created clusters of IoT start-ups and universities each focussed on a particular application. Each cluster used the HyperCat specification to create interoperability within their cluster and then between clusters.
“This will drive commercial use of the hubs and lowers the barrier to participation, particularly for SMEs,” said John Davies, Head of Semantic Technology at BT.
“While there is still the need for applications and services to agree on standard ways to describe data – so called ontologies – HyperCat offers a common approach to describing the information held on data hubs, thereby allowing people to find data relevant to their specific needs more quickly and easily,” said Davies.