University’s leading role in Internet of Things research

Prof Rachel Cooper
Prof Rachel Cooper

New research by Lancaster University will ensure that the UK is a global leader in the privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security (PETRAS) of the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

The university is part of a consortium which has 
received £9.8m support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of a £40 million investment programme from the UK Government.

Lancaster’s involvement in the Hub brings together expertise from the Security Lancaster and Imagination Lancaster research centres and Lancaster’s Data Science Institute.

This interdisciplinary work will concentrate on a number of key areas, including the security considerations for connected devices in critical infrastructure and industrial environments, the creation and use of ‘big data’ for ‘smart’ highways maintenance and ‘e-Campus’ (the world’s largest research testbed for ambient displays), 
as well as developing new design techniques that will be used to create 
visions of what the future for the Internet of Things may be to enable as many
 people as possible to engage with shaping those futures.

Rachel Cooper, Professor of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University, said: “The Internet of Things is shaping up to be the next big digital revolution, with billions of objects becoming connected to the internet.

“These devices will produce unprecedented volumes of data as well as posing significant security challenges and the need for innovative design solutions.

“Working alongside colleagues within the Hub, Lancaster’s expertise will cut across these areas to provide solutions that will help ensure that the IoT brings about its much promised economic and societal benefits to the UK in a way that is safe, secure and robust.”

In announcing Government funding for the Hub last week, Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, said: “UK universities are renowned for their creativity, and pioneering research and development.

“We want the UK to be a world leader in the adoption of Internet of Things technologies, and I know that bringing these universities together with partners from the UK’s thriving tech industry will be instrumental in making this a reality.”

An additional £9.7 million will come from partners,including SMEs, industry, NGOs and public bodies. With just over £4 million of additional support from the participating institutions, the total investment in the 
PETRAS IoT Hub comes to £24m over three years.

The Hub is a consortium of nine leading universities that have come together and is led by University College London.

Initial IoT work carried out by Lancaster experts as part of the Hub includes studying the security and safety risks posed by the introduction of IoT in industrial infrastructures and developing novel cyber security driven architectures based on the philosophy ‘If it is not cyber secure, it is not safe’.