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Digital Catapult UK’s leading innovation centre launches the Future Networks Lab

A new collaboration space for startups, corporations and network platform providers


Digital Catapult collaborates with Siemens, BT and PTC on next generation network infrastructure


Digital Catapult has partnered with Siemens, BT, PTC, IBM, ServiceNow, Semtech and Texas Instruments to launch the UK’s newest dedicated facility for leading edge network technologies: the Future Networks Lab.


The Future Networks Lab provides a place for startups, corporations and network platform providers to collaborate through access to technical expertise, innovation support and advanced digital infrastructure facilities including all leading LPWAN technologies (including LoRaWAN, SigFox, NB-IoT and LTE-M), and a 5G node that builds on the success of Digital Catapult’s Brighton 5G testbed launched in September 2018.
Digital Catapult and its partners will use the Future Networks Lab to demonstrate the practical application of their own IoT solutions and products, showcasing how organisations of all sizes can fully exploit the potential of these technologies at scale.
To help solve these challenges and provide more opportunities to create network connectivity solutions proven in the field, the Future Networks Lab has been designed to support UK businesses of all sizes to research, develop and adopt the latest network solutions and prototypes in a dedicated space for open innovation.

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Future networks technologies such as LPWAN and 5G have the potential to radically transform industrial processes but their application does not need to be limited. Industries across the public and private sectors could see huge benefits by embracing advanced digital technologies which help build connectivity, streamline process and iron out inefficiencies in quality control, asset tracking and management.

Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “Today’s companies need modern, efficient and resilient technological infrastructure. Digital Catapult’s new Future Networks Lab will provide some of the key building blocks to help unlock that developing infrastructure and the new services which will run on it. We’re excited to launch this new facility alongside some of Britain’s leading players. Together, we are helping companies of all sizes access the latest IoT enabling technologies, developing collaboration opportunities and running programmes which will bring all sorts of experts together in an inspiring space.”  

Margot James, Minister for Digital, said: “We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G and our groundbreaking testbeds and trials set up across the country will make that possible. The Future Networks Lab will help drive innovative and ongoing collaboration between industry and business, so that we can realise the revolutionary benefits of 5G and Internet of Things technology.”

Juergen Maier CBE, CEO, Siemens UK, said: “The Future Networks Lab can play a vital role in the fourth industrial revolution where practical experimentation can show the potential of new digital technologies. We’re delighted to partner with the Digital Catapult in making our Made Smarter digital revolution a reality for businesses across the capital and beyond.”

Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise business, said: “BT aims to be a leader in delivering 5G and IoT networks and services to UK businesses and the public sector. We’ve already conducted the UK’s first live trials of 5G with services set to launch across 16 cities initially this year. And we’re actively helping customers across the transport, logistics, utilities and retail sectors transform their operations through intelligent IoT solutions, for example, Stobart Group’s Rail & Civils Division. Collaboration with an ecosystem of partners and tech start-ups is key to success in this space. So we’re pleased to be underpinning Digital Catapult’s Things Connected Network in London and extending our partnership through the new Future Networks Lab to encourage further innovation in 5G and IoT.”

Paul Haimes, VP Pre-Sales, PTC, said: “PTC has a long history of working with UK’s Catapult Centres with over a decade of successful collaboration at the AMRC High Value Manufacturing Catapult. We’re excited about our new partnership with Digital Catapult and specifically the Future Networks Lab which will allow organisations to blueprint and validate the value of their digital use-cases in asingle location using industry leading technologies.”

Marc Pegulu, Vice President, Semtech’s Wireless and Sensing Products Group, said: “The Future
Networks Lab will provide multiple industries access to real-world expertise and advanced test equipment for LoRa®-based solutions. This open innovation will reduce the time to market for using data-based concepts for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions as Semtech’s LoRa Technology is the DNA (Devices, Networks, Applications) of IoT targeted to businesses and consumers that need a proven, flexible and easy-to-implement platform.”


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About Digital Catapult

Digital Catapult is the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation Centre, driving early adoption of technologies to make UK businesses more competitive and productive to grow the country’s economy.

We connect large established companies, startup and scaleup businesses and researchers working with artificial intelligence, immersive technologies, and future networks (5G & LPWAN) to discover new ways to solve big challenges in the manufacturing and creative industries. Through this collaboration businesses are supported to develop the right technologies to solve problems, increase productivity and open up new markets faster.

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Digital Catapult provides physical and digital facilities for experimentation and testing that would otherwise not be accessible for smaller companies.

As well as breaking down barriers to technology adoption for startups and scaleups, our work de-risks innovation for large enterprises and uncovers new commercial applications in the advanced digital technologies that underpin a modern industrial economy.

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For more info please visit / @digicatapult

Raffaele Schiavullo
the authorRaffaele Schiavullo
ADMINISTRATOR - Senior 3D/Virtual Reality Specialist and Automotive HMI developer - Working in London and "insanely" passionate about technology and its creative applications


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