Making Sense of Location Based Services

Cambridge (UK), Smart City and Neul

Introduction

In April this year Neul, the wireless pioneer  announced the deployment of the world’s first city-wide, fully functional wireless network in white space which would enable a whole host of smart city applications in Cambridge.

This was in collaboration with BGlobal in which they show cased the first ever smart electricity meter reading over a white space network. This was the initial step towards smart grids facilitating electricity supply to be more efficiently matched to real time demand.

Along side to this Neul’s network opens up a number of fascinating possibilities like smarter transport and traffic management, city lighting and other municipal services. The city of the future is being delivered through a new wireless standard called ‘Weightless’ specifically designed for embedding in electricity and gas meters, air quality sensors, recycling points, street lighting, parking spaces and traffic lights.

What is White Space?

What is White Space? White space is the unused and underused parts of the wireless spectrum which were originally used by TV channels and are left vacant in most locations. Neul’s technology opens up these channels and will also allow underused frequencies within other UHF licensed and unlicensed bands to be used efficiently for wireless communication.

Neul’s network is built on the successful completion of the first phase of the Cambridge White Space Consortium’s network. The consortium’s phase one network used Neul’s equipment and cloud interface, together with the Weightless communications standard, which has prove that its white space network co-exists perfectly with televisions and wireless microphones without causing interference or disruption. It is anticipated now that the full roll out scheduled of this technology is 2013 which would make Cambridge the first smart city in the world.

Glenn Collinson, co-founder and director at Neul, said: “In a world of smart phones and mobile broadband it is easy to imagine that wireless connectivity has now been solved.

It hasn’t. Mobile broadband is too expensive for ‘things’ in the smart city. Also mobile broadband means battery powered devices would need changing far too often. And all those sensors would load the cellular networks to such a level that there would be little network capacity left.

Mobile networks are great for people but terrible for machines. At Neul we have demonstrated that the smart city can happen now through Weightless.”

Backing of Ofcom

Ofcomm has backed the technological and regulatory push for mass white space implementation in the UK. It stated that;

What the industry requires now is a ‘kick start’ of rapid regulatory turnaround for the common good, rapid occupation of the spectrum, and deployment of machine-to-machine white space standards and technology to demonstrate use cases.”

Ofcom CEO, Ed Richards told a EU Policy debate in Brussels that white space was now a priority for Ofcom. He stressed the importance of moving regulation to a point where companies can occupy the spectrum as a means of demonstrating the worth of dynamic spectrum access, and of propelling the industry forwards.

Alongside this backing Weightless who is steering the machine to machine communication standard for the white space spectrum is signing up members and has the innovation that regulators are seeking to stimulate momentum in delivery of white space solutions. Weightless expects to see white space M2M standards and network infrastructure in place by 2013, if not the end of 2012.

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