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How the IoT Discovery Programme is helping kickstart major UK businesses’ IoT journeys

Posted 21 May 2021

Organisations are waking up to the benefits of internet of things (IoT) technology and are becoming increasingly adventurous when it comes to deploying IoT in new and exciting ways. In order to fully realise the potential of IoT, a key challenge must be addressed – upskilling the workforce.

Supporting employees across the business in a variety of roles, technical and non-technical alike, to confidently deploy IoT is crucial in order to drive the long-term success of projects. Interestingly, according to a 2020 report from Deloitte, only one fifth of executives completely agree that their organisations are ready for Industry 4.0, whereas a growing number of executives (80%) said they are creating a lifelong culture of learning and development as a top priority to implement technology successfully.

Digital Catapult is uniquely positioned to support organisations along this journey in two ways; firstly, helping them identify use cases for IoT within their business and deploying technology to bring this to life, and secondly, supporting organisations to upskill and educate staff. This is why we have created the IoT Discovery Programme, to support organisations across a wide range of manufacturing industries in understanding and confidently deploying IoT. The programme launched in April 2021 and we’re excited by what has been achieved so far.

IoT Discovery Programme – what’s it all about?

Digital Catapult’s IoT Discovery Programme is a three-month long programme supporting major organisations across a variety of industries (including manufacturing, oil and gas, consumer electronics, logistics and many more) in understanding the value of IoT and how to deploy this technology successfully within the organisation to deliver real change.

Its aim is to unearth opportunities for IoT to drive efficiencies in existing processes, or help create exciting new business models, and we do this entirely virtually with a number of 1-2-1 and cross-cohort classroom based sessions covering some of the following topics:

  • Understanding IoT, different technology standards, and how to deploy successful IoT programmes
  • Uncovering business challenges, identifying key KPIs and organisational drivers
  • Building technology business cases – how to make investment in technology stack up for internal and external decision makers
  • Introduction to complementary technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), immersive technologies including virtual and augmented reality, and blockchain
  • Introduction into the UK R&D landscape

At the end of the programme, we hope that all involved will come out of the sessions with a number of clearly defined and outlined use-cases for IoT deployment within their organisations. Digital Catapult is the UK authority in sustainable deployment of advanced digital technologies; supporting organisations to move beyond the ‘proof of concept’ stage and into full-scale deployment, ensuring that organisations reap the full benefits of the technology, and that’s more true than ever for the IoT Discovery Programme.

Who is on the programme and what do they think?

A number of dynamic organisations have joined the IOT Discovery Programme and many challenges are unanimous, regardless of sector.

This year, our cohort is made up of:

Northern Gas Networks – working with Digital Catapult to develop technical and financial funding strategies, business cases and support supply chain and innovator engagement

Richard Hynes-Cooper, Head of Innovation at Northern Gas Networks:

“We have been engaging with the Digital Catapult to pull in some of the IoT work we are doing and align it to the collective strategies between our internal departments. Specifically, 3iG [IT], innovation and the broader energy system transformation work that is under way at this time.

Our view is that the programme will help drive clarity of longer-term strategic requirements and also further support the potential innovation work areas in this space, particularly relating to the Energy Systems Transition and digital transformation activity.”

Celsa Steel – advancing activity around the concept of ‘circular’ steel (energy and materials efficiency) through collaboration, knowledge sharing and developing relationships across industry

Eoin Bailey, UK Innovation Manager at Celsa UK, said:

“Due to the long lifespan of steel making capital equipment and operations, there is often a delay in modernisation and a gap in the skills and knowledge required to successfully implement Internet of Things applications.

“Participation in the IoT Discovery Programme is key in supporting Celsa in upskilling the engineering teams, aligning potential IoT applications to our current processes, implementation and optimisation of solutions, knowledge transfer for collaboration opportunities and funding application procedures.”

Yusen Logistics – working to develop a new and improved digital platform to manage the end-to-end logistics service provided to customers in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector

Leo Pickford, Head Of Business Change at Yusen Logistics (UK) Ltd said:

“We are excited to be working with Digital Catapult and taking part in the IoT Discovery Programme to help us think through our digitisation journey and understand how we can leverage the latest IoT technology to enhance our operations.”

Siemens – supplying IoT solutions to customers and deploying them in its UK manufacturing factories – to drive unparalleled productivity and operational efficiency across the entire value chain

Imran Agha & Carl German, Strategic Leads Innovation in Products & Process (Siemens Congleton), said:

“This programme provides us with collaborative insights for our staff in product development, supply chain management, customer services and finance to accelerate awareness of IoT opportunities, business case development and ultimately champion deployment of these solutions across our business”

How to explore the Internet of Things?

To get started with IOT, it’s important to consider a few things. What is going on in the industry, what are the key themes and who are the trailblazers that have already started implementing advanced digital technologies? Reading industry whitepapers, use cases and trade magazines for inspiration, as well as attending IoT events (both online and in-person), are great ways to grow understanding.

Find out more about Digital Catapult’s IoT Discovery Programme here and contact Rukmini Prasad ([email protected]) to kickstart your journey with the internet of things.