Prime minister David Cameron has announced that the government will invest a further £45m in technologies relating to the Internet of Things (IoT), and that UK and German universities will collaborate to research 5G.
Cameron was joined by German chancellor Angela Merkel as the two leaders promised to form stronger ties between the UK and German technology industries.
Speaking at the CeBIT opening ceremony, attended by V3, the prime minister said £45m has now been made available for firms researching IoT technologies, taking the total investment in this area to £73m.
IoT is the consumer-friendly term for machine-to-machine communication, with internet-connected sensors built into devices such as thermostats, fridges and industrial machinery. Funding of £1m will also go to a grant scheme called the European Internet of Things for companies looking to make use of IoT technology in their business operations.
Cameron also announced a new joint project between King’s College London, the University of Surrey and Dresden University of Technology to develop 5G connections, which the PM said would allow consumers to download a full movie in “less than a second”.
Finally, he claimed that the government’s new strategy for the wireless spectrum, which will be revealed in full today, will double the economic benefits of spectrum usage to £100bn by 2025.
He called for closer ties with German tech firms, saying: “We are on the brink of a new industrial revolution and I want us, the UK and Germany, to lead it. Take British ingenuity in software, services and design, add German excellence in engineering and industrial manufacturing, and together we can lead in this new revolution.”
Merkel added that the next big challenge for Europe would be to create a “single digital market” for better competition between firms and better value and service for consumers. She commended the European Commission’s Digital Agenda chief Neelie Kroes for her efforts, and looked to reassure the audience of IT leaders that Germany was taking the challenge seriously.
“We need to speed up our efforts, and let me assure on behalf of the whole of the government that we will work for this. We need this single digital market,” Merkel said.
The UK is this year’s partner country for CeBIT, with Cameron touring the show floors to promote the UK tech industry, along with the likes of former Tech City chief Joanna Shields and Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton.
Last week EE spoke of its efforts to push 5G research as work begins on this new area of mobile connectivity, although live networks are not expected until around 2020.