Capita, in conjunction with the SWAN Innovation Forum, is proposing to roll out Internet of Things (IoT) capability across the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN). Designed to fulfil the Smart Cities and Smart Scotland agenda, the company said support of IoT will enable the public sector to access new and innovative services that will support future transformation across the nation.

“The SWAN IoT capability for the public sector in Scotland will underpin key government agendas by providing better and more accurate data on factors including water levels, air quality, footfall analysis and provide additional analytics for future health and social care services,” the company said in a statement. “The solution will be enabled by Cisco IoT technology deployed across the network.”

The initiative was unveiled today at FutureScot’s Digital Scotland 2018 conference.

A pilot in conjunction with two organisations is underway and continuing until August 2018, using sensor technology deployed in partnership with CENSIS (Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems) – one of the eight Scottish Innovation Centres charged with accelerating innovation and Digital in Scotland.

With connectivity already provided to approximately 6,000 sites across Scotland, 52 member organisations including 50% of the local authorities, 250 unbundled exchanges, and over 7000km of fibre circuits, SWAN has the “unrivalled ability to deliver an IoT network to a wide geographical area at a pace otherwise unachievable,” said Capita.

 ‘Outside-in’ approach of IoT roll-out will benefit rural Scotland

CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, welcomed Capita proposal to roll out IoT capability across SWAN.

“With nationwide IoT connectivity, Scotland’s public sector can improve the way data is gathered and used – opening the way for better delivery and planning of public services,” said Dr Mark Begbie, Business Development Director at CENSIS. “Through SWAN, the gains will be brought to rural and remote areas of Scotland – delivering the Scottish Government’s ‘outside-in’ approach.

“We’re proud to have been asked to play a key role in fostering the collaboration, infrastructure, new technology and business models, building on the work of the Scottish Government Public Wireless Programme, that made this initiative possible. Bringing together public- and private-sector agencies, we’ve worked successfully with Capita and a number of SWAN members to deliver against the Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy, proving the value of this technology through pilot projects now poised to result in concrete benefits.’

CENSIS has provided leadership and engineering expertise to the initiative, which will see a cutting-edge LoRaWAN (Long Range Low Power Wide Area Network) integrated into SWAN, Scotland’s shared network and common ICT infrastructure for public services. Capita proposes to roll out a number of LoRa gateways, reaching across Scotland.

LoRaWAN makes it possible to collect and send data over long distances and at low cost, with power usage so low that sensors and devices connected to the network can last for years on a single battery – making it well suited for difficult-to-reach locations.

In combination with SWAN (the Scottish Wide Area Network), LoRaWAN will enable Scotland’s public sector to use IoT and sensor technology to gather better data on a wide range of areas, potentially ranging from environmental monitoring, to maintenance and monitoring of assets, to health and social care.

In addition, there could be opportunities for Scottish companies to support this activity and the development of new and innovative services. “We see a role here too for CENSIS,” explained Begbie. “So, not only have we been the catalyst for the genesis and roll-out of this initiative, but we can support suppliers to develop products and services to help the public sector make the most of the technology. This in turn could create exportable products, services and expertise for Scottish businesses.”

Subject to final approval of the SWAN Management Board, phase one of the roll out will comprise of a number of gateways based on Cisco IOT technology, strategically located across Scotland, with the implementation commencing immediately thereafter.

Eddie Cronie, managing director of Capita SWAN, said: “We are delighted to further our relationship with the SWAN members and deploying IOT across the nation demonstrates the value of SWAN in support and the delivery of the Scottish Government Digital Strategy.

“This was truly a cross-functional team who managed to pull this together, including NSS (NHS National Services Scotland), Scottish Government and SWAN Innovation Forum members, and we are confident that the introduction of IoT will lead technology innovation in the public sector and transform the public services delivered across Scotland.”

Ron MacDonald, Associate Director of NSS, said: “This further emphasises the benefits of SWAN to rural and urban areas, and demonstrates what is possible through public sector collaborative working. We see many of the SWAN members working on IOT projects and this announcement will further accelerate the adoption of IOT technologies to drive change within the public sector in Scotland.”

Tony Gribben, Cisco, Scotland Country Manager, added: “Cisco is thrilled to be the technology partner that will power the upcoming SWAN IoT network in Scotland. The innovation that IoT enables, creates tremendous opportunity for cost saving and efficiency to ensure our public services are able to provide the type of world-leading services that they aspire to.

“Cisco’s LoRaWAN-compliant solution connects IoT endpoints across cities or rural areas, at low cost and with low power consumption. Cisco’s LoRaWAN based technology is well positioned to help enable the Scottish Government to deliver on its Smart Cities and Smart Scotland agenda.”