About Pitch-In

< What is the Internet of Things? >

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in objects about our person, in our homes, factories, hospitals, buildings, cities and environment, enabling them to send and receive data, and to collaborate with other internet enabled computing to provide a host of applications and services.

It is estimated that we will have more than 50 billion connected elements online within the next decade, and that the IoT will bolster the UK economy by £81 billion and bring 67,000 jobs to the UK by 2021.

IoT supports many ‘smart’ infrastructures and lies at the heart of industrial digitisation efforts to achieve greater productivity; the UK Government’s Made Smarter review identifies many such opportunities for increased productivity via digitisation.

< Project vision >

The Pitch-In project will show how the Universities of Sheffield, Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge, together with industrial and commercial partners, can deliver benefits by significantly enhancing Internet of Things (IoT) innovation.

It will build strong relationships and an IoT innovation ecosystem in which the universities and industry play their full part. This ecosystem will sustain beyond the life of the project, including through alignment with the Make Smarter initiative.

The project had a particular emphasis on how to overcome technical, social, managerial and organisational barriers to innovation in IoT within the manufacturing, energy, cities and health and wellbeing sectors. It also addressed issues that apply across all sectors and its work supported the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy by making apparent the value of IoT methods and technologies in addressing and enabling achievement of the Grand Challenges.

The project was funded until 2021 through Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund.

How did we achieve this?

Pitch-in carried out a range of ‘mini-projects’, each developing and trialling solutions to address one or more barriers, or seeking to exploit IoT opportunities. It sought to demonstrate how the universities’ capabilities could be leveraged. The mini-projects were based on collaborations, either between the Universities or between universities and external organisations / national initiatives.

Pitch-In exchanged knowledge and insights which arose from its work. It developed and made available useful informational assets (such as experience reports and case studies), physical assets (dedicated estate for IoT related activities) and collaborative agreements that facilitate IoT innovation activities.

Pitch-In developed its working relationships and engineered a range of further collaborations, during Pitch-In’s existence and beyond.

The Universities, together with their external partners will contribute directly to the development of collaborative regional ecosystems. They will engage with other IoT-centred or interested stakeholders to boost IoT engagement across the UK.

Key project aims

  • To identify opportunities for, and barriers to, the development and exploitation of the Internet of Things, to trial potential solutions, and to disseminate results.

  • To contribute to the development of sustainable regional ecosystems of connected IoT stakeholders (with needs and capabilities), leveraging and complementing existing structures, with our experiences in doing so being disseminated widely.

  • To demonstrate the benefits to business and the universities of engaging with IoT and to facilitate the exploitation of our combined IoT assets and IoT expertise.

  • To develop a means for Universities to fully exploit their capabilities to enhance the whole of the IoT innovation ecosystem.

  • To act as a springboard for further collaborative innovation activities.

  • To capture and exchange knowledge and learning to enhance sustainable value, including through methods, models and tools.

< Who we worked with >

Advanced Manufacturing Reseach Centre (AMRC) and the University of Sheffield logos
Innovate UK logo
Siemens logo
Catapult Digital logo
Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) logo

< Funding >

Pitch-In was not intended as a direct funder for IoT implementation or for fundamental IoT related research. It was concerned with supporting investigation of barriers to successful introduction of IoT, developing solutions and sharing the results.

However, engineering access to other finance as part of a sustainable ecosystem was a project goal. Pitch-In built relationships with financing as part of its ecosystem support. This included collaboration with other Connecting Capability Fund projects such as the Northern Triangle Initiative.

Pitch-In facilitated and supported collaborative IoT related proposals as opportunities arose. The development of low cost IoT solutions was one area of significant importance to Pitch-In. We acknowledged that the needs of an SME would be different to those where major resilient infrastructure had to be developed. We supported knowledge exchange activities to support ‘IoT on a shoestring’.