Construction of the new Do IoT (Delft on Internet of Things) Fieldlab will continue to progress during the next few months. Thanks to a financial contribution from the ‘Kansen voor West’ programme, which is receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the work on building the required technical infrastructure can begin.

There are to be two test locations where the ultra-modern experimental communications infrastructure is to be built: The Green Village on the TU Delft Campus and Unmanned Valley on the former Valkenburg military airbase near Katwijk. They are both ‘minimum rules’ testing grounds, which allows rapid development of innovations related to the Internet of Things. A mobile test installation is also being built that can be used for testing at company locations, as well as in other field labs, such as RoboHouse.

Pooling resources

“What makes the Do IoT Fieldlab unique is that we are not only able to overcome the technical and scientific challenges posed by the Internet of Things and create an environment where businesses can test innovative IoT applications, but also serve other field labs and partners, thereby pooling our resources,” says programme manager Lenneke de Voogd of TU Delft.

“That is because the Internet of Things is a technology that will have a major impact in many areas – robotics, healthcare, logistics, aviation and smart cities, to name a few,” says De Voogd.

Self-driving cars

In the Internet of Things, large numbers of devices exchange information via a wireless network, which requires super-fast connections with high reliability and short response times. 5G, the new generation of mobile communication networks, offers such connections. It enables surgeons, for example, to perform operations remotely, using a robotic arm. Self-driving cars also need 5G to be able to communicate with the surroundings in busy streets.

Scientific research

Scientific research is also benefiting from the new field lab. “How secure, reliable, and energy-efficient is IoT, and what will be coming after 5G? There are large numbers of TU Delft researchers working on these and similar areas and the Do IoT Fieldlab offers them a unique opportunity to test the theories they have developed in practice. To that end we are creating a research environment in addition to the innovation environment with ultra-modern communications infrastructure,” explains TU Delft’s director of research Fernando Kuipers.

“Whenever the research environment comes up with solutions that appear to be reliable, they can be applied in the innovation environment so that even in an age in which technology changes so rapidly, they remain ultra-modern.”

Employment opportunities

The technical infrastructure is due to be ready this autumn. Do IoT Fieldlab expects to carry out around forty projects during the next three years. This will lead not only to new products and applications related the Internet of Things, but also to more employment opportunities and commercial activity in the form of start-ups and scale-ups that will be working with the new technology.

Digital innovation

Adri Bom-Lemstra, member of the Zuid-Holland Provincial Executive, says: “Zuid-Holland is home to many digital innovation initiatives. And that’s a good thing, because digitisation is going to change our current production processes and revenue models. That is something we have to be prepared for. Collaboration between those in the field, researchers, and the public sector is greatly important in that context. This is what is happening in this field lab. Moreover, innovations can be tested here in a practical setting. Being able to experiment is invaluable. The construction of the technical infrastructure is bringing this a step closer.”

This week it was announced that the European Union will contribute 1.5 million euros through the programme “Kansen voor West”. The total project has a duration of three years and costs 3 million euros. The Do IoT Fieldlab has been set up by the Province of Zuid-Holland, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, the Municipality of Delft, the Rotterdam-The Hague metropolitan region (MRDH), the Municipality of Katwijk, Holland Rijnland, and TU Delft. Other parties involved with the Kansen voor West programme are SURF, MCS, BTG, The Green Village, Unmanned Valley Valkenburg, RoboValley, and the Mobility Innovation Centre Delft.

Webinar

Like to know more? On 10 September, BTG/TGG, TU Delft, and the ERDF partners are organising a webinar about the Do IoT Fieldlab and the opportunities that 5G and the IoT can bring.