Open-source and technical communities consultancy AB Open has opened a call for businesses in the Calderdale area to participate in a free long-range wireless communications network testbed built with the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications in mind, as part of the IoTUK Boost project launched by the Digital and Future Cities Catapults.

Under the government-backed programme and in partnership with the Digital Catapult, RS Components, The Things Network and Calderdale Council, AB Open is launching a free initiative designed to support businesses working in the burgeoning Internet of Things sector within Calderdale through free connectivity to a testbed network using a proven low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) wireless communications standard called LoRaWAN, alongside ongoing development support.

Up to ten local businesses will be supplied with hardware for prototyping, trained during a two-day hands-on workshop, given a full 12 months of support, and given opportunities to showcase their LoRaWAN-enabled products and services upon completion.

“We’re thrilled to be working with IoTUK, RS Components, The Things Network and Calderdale Council on introducing LPWAN technology to the region,” says AB Open Managing Director Andrew Back, “and are excited to see how entrepreneurs and businesses will be able to build great new products and services using low-power, long-range communications.”

“This fantastic initiative helps lower the barriers for local businesses to develop, experiment and deploy IoT applications,” said Pete Wood, DesignSpark Community Manager at RS Components.

Cllr Lisa Lambert, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Business Change and Customer Service, said: “We are delighted that AB Open is bringing this prestigious project to Calderdale. One of the Council’s priorities is to use new technology to improve services, so we support the project as it will enable innovative approaches across the borough – for example, new ways to measure air quality and river levels. It will also help to boost local businesses.”