Mapping Ireland’s vast internet of things network reveals a web of collaboration and innovation.
The internet of things (IoT) has grown from distant concept to near-realisation owing to the collaboration of many moving parts. Network providers, electronics manufacturers, R&D labs, multinational corporations, start-ups, innovators and strategic advisers have each made their contribution to the act of ushering in this new age of connected devices.
In Ireland alone we can see how tightly knit the IoT ecosystem is, weaving together a broad spectrum of players. From networks to infrastructure to research to software, we can see how each component interacts with the others to make integral systems such as machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) happen.
Entrepreneurs and commercial partners are collaborating with universities and research centres. Forward-looking consultancies are not only writing the reports on IoT and its impact, they’re also working with their clients to develop and implement solutions. It’s all one big interconnected IoT family on this, the ‘island of things’.
Global consultancy Accenture needs to stay on top of business-transforming technology. At its recently opened multidisciplinary research and incubation hub, The Dock, the company focuses its research on artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and the internet of things, hiring widely for talent interested in developing new IoT technologies.
Last year, the Advanced Materials and Bio-Engineering Research (AMBER) centre at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) won a €4.4m Horizon 2020 research contract to develop a new class of magnetic materials for electronics. Led by TCD’s Prof Plamen Stamenov, the TRANSPIRE project could lead to on-chip and chip-to-chip data links at least 100 times faster than current standards, enabling speedier data transfer for the internet of things.
For the past 40 years, Analog Devices has been developing semiconductors – particularly within IoT – in Ireland, with a staff of 1,200. Twenty per cent of the company’s patents are filed by Ireland-based workers. In November last year, Analog acquired solid-state laser beam steering technology from Vescent Photonics for future autonomous vehicles.
Software company ArtOfUs aims to put people at the heart of the IoT ecosystem with its pioneering human operating system platform. Based in London, ArtOfUs recently opened an office at the Digital Hub in Dublin, creating 18 jobs and establishing its presence in Ireland’s IoT community.
With its headquarters in Dublin, Asavie is one of Ireland’s biggest IoT connectivity providers through platforms like PassBridge. At the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, the company with over 100 staff unveiled an Industrial IoT Accelerator Kit to speed up IoT adoption in the wider world.
Network provider BT is establishing itself on new footing with IoT. BT is offering a support ecosystem for IoT initiatives, encompassing cloud, a global network and data centres. In the UK, the company is involved with the Milton Keynes smart city project and has published a white paper detailing its work in this area.
TSSG, the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group at Waterford Institute of Technology, is a research centre dedicated to IoT development. The body claims to have delivered solutions to more than 210 start-ups in the past five years, with 14 spin-out companies emerging from its campus. In 2014, TSSG partnered with Tyndall to target €82m worth of EU funding for IoT start-ups.
With its head office in south Dublin, Comtrade is engineering the software behind IoT – particularly within Ireland’s medtech sector, which it hopes will provide 25pc growth year-on-year by 2020. Currently, its Irish team of engineers is developing software that will benefit advanced wearables and in vitro diagnostics.
With €50m through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and other funders, Connect’s Irish reach is extensive, with 250 researchers spread across TCD, University College Cork (UCC), Dublin City University (DCU), University College Dublin (UCD), University of Limerick (UL), Cork Institute of Technology, Maynooth University, Dublin Institute of Technology, Tyndall National Institute and TSSG. An example of Connect’s work is its Pervasive Nation which, when finished, will be a national-scale IoT research infrastructure.
Croke Park is Ireland’s first (and only) smart stadium. The centerpiece of a collaborative project from Intel and DCU, the home of the GAA is now also home to myriad companies using it as a test bed for new IoT ideas.
Employing over 100 staff at its Dublin office, Cubic Telecom has created a global connectivity platform in all new Audi road cars. On a visit to Dublin last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to the company as “a fantastic example of an Irish start-up”.
Dairymaster brings the internet of things to dairy farms. The company is behind MooMonitor+ and Swiftflo Commander, designed to give farmers up-to-date information on herd health and milk yield. A shining light of agritech R&D, Dairymaster provided tech for a €2.3m UCD dairy research facility in Kildare.
With an array of smart devices on offer, Daqri wants to create “the gateway to augmented reality”. Of particular interest is its AR helmet, which could revolutionise the IIoT world. In 2015, Daqri opened its European headquarters at Dublin’s Silicon Docks, the epicentre of Irish IoT innovation.
Award-winning start-up Davra Networks is taking the IoT world by storm in Ireland and abroad. It has already worked with Cisco to create an end-to-end IoT platform in Texas. This year, it launched ConnecThing.io, a platform dedicated to solution providers.
Croke Park is not where DCU’s IoT ties end. The university runs an electronic systems course, allowing students to ‘major in IoT’. At its Ryan Academy, an accelerator supports IoT start-ups. And DCU researchers are currently working on a €4.6m cloud project that will support next-gen IoT development.
DCU Alpha (formerly DCU Innovation Campus), is a commercial innovation campus housing 35 companies working across emerging technologies in the connected health, clean energy and IoT spheres. The campus promotes the growth of these research-intensive businesses, supporting companies as they scale and innovate.
Dublin-based DecaWave – a company creating wireless sensors for indoor use – appears to be on a rapid rise to success in the coming year. Having already deployed over 1m IoT sensors last year with over $22m in funding, it now aims to deploy 5m devices by the end of this year.
Data storage company Dell EMC has firmly inked its IoT stamp on Ireland. Dell opened its first European IoT lab in Limerick in 2015 and, last month, the merged brand partnered with Asavie to create an end-to-end connectivity experience, helping to interweave the key players that make Ireland an IoT hub.Deloitte
Deloitte Digital – the consultancy firm’s digital and IoT service provider – is considered a leader in its field internationally, but has also influenced development in Ireland. Last month, the company revealed it was partnering with Dublin-based PTC to accelerate IoT adoption with the ThingWorx IIoT platform.
Also at MWC 2017, home-grown Irish IoT success story Druid announced that its software is in use in a road safety test environment in Sweden, in IoT devices on oil and gas platforms in the Dutch North Sea, and in automation systems at the port of Rotterdam.
Eir has been expanding its IoT capabilities over the past year through partnerships with companies like Asavie to build an IoT Connect platform that can be used by small and large companies. This will see Eir’s cellular network be employed by businesses to connect machines in the field.
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