Island could be used to trial UK firms' technology in future

Friday 27th November 2020 10:00 am
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Laurence Skelly MHK - ()

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Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly says there are signs of UK interest in the concept of the island becoming a ’trial isle’ for technology.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle has mooted the idea of the island becoming a trial base for green technologies that could help tackle climate change.

Mr Skelly told Tynwald last week that UK contacts indicated genuine interest. He said: ’Our trial island aspiration is within reach.’

Responding to a question from Jason Moorhouse (Arbory, Castletown and Malew), he said the island had a ’good history’ in trialling technology and government helping to develop new business sectors, with e-gaming and blockchain being ’notable successes’.

trials

He added: ’Building on this, Digital Isle of Man has run a series of workshops to discuss how to attract more technology trials to the island, and the resulting initiative is currently centred on, but not limited to, the Internet of Things.

’A government-owned, island-wide low-power, wide-area network has been created to encourage technology trials. This network will be free to use for qualifying trials.’

The network has 70% Island coverage and that is expected to reach 90% by the end of the year.

A digital accelerator programme is in place to support the ’rapid mobilisation of technology trials’ here, said Mr Skelly and Digital IoM was searching for partners to ’’grow an ecosystem and create meaningful case studies’ to promote the island’s potential.

He added: ’Particular focus will be given to environmentally friendly and sustainable initiatives, and our partnership with Cambridge Cleantech is a good example of how this approach works well, with a strong track record of connecting innovators, academics and investors to industry sectors that want a smarter and more sustainable future.

’Early indicators from contacts in the UK and beyond show genuine interest in this approach, validating that we have credibility and some key differentiators over other jurisdictions.’

l The Oxford English Dictionary describes the ’internet of things’ as: ’proposed development of the internet in which many everyday objects are embedded with microchips giving them network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data’.

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