15 October 2013

BT takes lead in wireless technology trials

Woman on computer outdoors

New wave wireless technology, which could help to make traffic congestion a thing of the past is being pioneered by BT.

The company is taking part in a major ‘white space’ technology pilot - run by Ofcom - which aims to assess how machine-to-machine (M2M) services could utilise gaps or ‘white spaces’ that sit in the frequency band used to broadcast digital terrestrial TV.

Over the next six months, the regulator will work with around 20 public and private organisations, including BT, to run a number of white space trials.

These will test a variety of innovative applications – ranging from sensors that monitor the behaviour of cities to dynamic information for road users.

Traffic data

Paul Putland from BT Technology, Service and Operations’ research and innovation team, said: “BT, together with technology specialist Neul, is participating in a small-scale trial of TV white space technology to test the sending of traffic information to and from moving vehicles along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge.”

“The main purpose of the trial is to understand the extent to which TV white space can be used for M2M communication in this type of scenario. In order to test this, we will be sending and gathering data relating to road conditions. The trail will commence in November and is expected to run for around three months.”

Growing demand

The trail will help boost understanding of how the growing demands on the UK’s wireless infrastructure can be met. One of the main drivers for this increase is M2M communications which links devices together over the internet and is commonly referred to as the ‘internet of things’.

If successful, ‘white space’ will help support up to 50 billion devices forecast to be connected wirelessly to the internet by 2020. It’s also a potential contributor to BT’s Net Good ambitions – which aligns business growth with offering products and services that help promote the low-carbon economy – for example – information systems that help to reduce traffic congestion and the pollution it causes.