Digital services research gets £7m boost

Digital services research gets £7m boost

Summary: A Scottish rural broadband effort and an augmented reality research push are among the 10 projects that are getting funding from the government's Technology Strategy Board

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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The government has awarded £7m to research and development projects designed to find innovative ways of delivering digital services.

On Monday, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced that 10 projects have been allocated money in the first round of funding in the Collaboration Across Digital Industries (Cadi) competition, launched in July.

"Co-operation between infrastructure providers, content producers, users and software developers is vital if we are to extract true economic value from the internet," TSB digital head Nick Appleyard said in a statement.

Co-operation between infrastructure providers, content producers, users and software developers is vital if we are to extract true economic value from the internet.

– Nick Appleyard, Technology Strategy Board

In the competition, businesses and their academic partners were asked to pitch R&D projects that address two of three key related areas: networks, content and services, and people.

In 'networks', the focus was on improving content delivery mechanisms, in recognition that infrastructure providers "often receive no direct rewards for increased traffic or improved service quality", according to the competition prospectus.

The 'content and services' strand tackled the environment for owners and distributors of creative and digital content, while the 'people' strand aimed to improve users' confidence in the internet.

"In the context of file-sharing and difficulties in managing intellectual property rights, new business models are needed, alongside advertising, to assure the long-term economic success of the sector," the TSB said.

Competition winners

One of the funding competition winners, the Orion project, will focus on developing outdoor hybrid femtocell base stations for satellite broadband communications, ZDNet UK understands. The project will focus specifically on healthcare applications of the technology and its participants are Avanti Communications, Alcatel-Lucent Telecom, Vodafone Group Services, Docobo and StreamOn.net.

Another funding winner, Glasgow-based communications consultancy Steepest Ascent, will launch an effort to extend broadband networks in the Scottish Highlands and Islands and other rural locations. The consultancy will work with partners including BBC Research & Development, BT and the University of Strathclyde.

The Met Office- and IBM-led Open Platform initiative has received money to help develop a marketplace similar to eBay that will store and trade in scientific environmental data. Initially, it will draw on environmental data held by the Met Office, with other organisations expected to join later.

Shakespeare Byte Size is an augmented-reality technology project led by HP. The business model, which HP intends to reuse, will build a location-aware app for smartphones. When the user points the phone camera at a particular place or landmark, the app will give information on the phone's screen about Shakespeare, drawn from historical documents.

Five other projects gained funding for businesses and academic partners: Slipstream, working on digital product placement for internet TV and video on-demand; Radio Connected, an internet radio connectivity project; Arkive In Your Pocket; Digital Inclusion Sustainability Environment; Digital Art Cloud; and Apollo.

The funding model for all of the projects is that the taxpayer provides half of the money, while the companies involved supply the other half. The money provided by taxpayers is not recouped.


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Topic: Emerging Tech

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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