Swindon is to become a UK-leading hub for pioneering development work on the Internet of Things – often called the next industrial revolution – after microchip giant Intel opened an innovation centre at its base in the town.
The innovation centre is the US group’s fourth in Europe – and first in the UK – and aims to encourage collaboration on huge growth areas such as transport, retail and the development of smart, sustainable cities.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely-expected to transform everyday life within the next couple of decades, if not earlier, as billions of devices are linked together in a super-connected society.
The implications for areas as diverse as traffic and transport management, health monitoring, weather forecasting, security, pollution and waste management to name only a few will be enormous as so-called m2m (machine-to-machine) technology develops and data is exchanged between ‘smart’ devices – often without any human involvement.
The idea might sound like science fiction but the technology is already in place to make it happen and Intel, employing around 600 people at its Swindon base, wants to bring developers, users and industry together to explore how IoT will shape society.
The innovation centre – or IoT Ignition Labs Swindon, as Intel is calling it – will allow hardware and software to be tested.
The centre will work specifically on smart buildings, retail and transport although Intel said it will be open to any industry IoT deployments may benefit.
Local schools may also be encouraged to use it to learn hardware and software development.
Intel EMEA IoT marketing director Rod O’Shea said: “This ignition lab will provide our customers a place to build and test end-to-end IoT solutions that will transform our businesses and everyday lives.
“We pride ourselves in bringing innovative solutions to market and these labs are a testimony to our commitment to this space.”
Intel also has IoT Ignition Labs in Turkey, Germany and Sweden.