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Norfolk County Council wins Internet of Things Award at Connected Britain Awards Ceremony

22 September 2021

The roll-out of Norfolk County Council’s new technology that allows the county’s roads to flag up when they need gritting and its bins that they need emptying has been recognised at the Connected Britain Awards (21-22 September) at the Design Centre in London. The council won the Internet of Things (IoT) Award for its Long-Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) for sending and receiving low power signals from digital devices and objects.

The first Connected Britain Awards were held in 2018 with the aim of recognising the leaders in the UK connectivity landscape. Since then, the awards have developed to cover a wide range of categories open to service providers, the public sector and charities, as well as suppliers to the industry. Norfolk County Council also won the award as Digital Council of the Year in 2020.

Following last year’s accolade, this year Norfolk County Council was nominated for the “IoT Award” for its work in developing our Internet of Things Innovation Network using LoRaWAN. Objects and devices in the LoRaWAN each have built-in sensors that capture small packets of data about their status or information from their surroundings and report the information via the network.

This technology allows roads to flag up when they need gritting, rubbish bins to say when they need to be emptied, rivers to say when the water level is getting close to flooding, and parking spaces to say whether they are empty or occupied. Sensors in the home can help people to keep living independently in their own homes for longer, and much more. All this extra information can allow cities, towns and rural communities to run smoothly, making them better places to live and work and, crucially, to help the more remote areas of our county to become better connected. It also creates an opportunity for businesses in Norfolk to innovate, develop expertise in this emerging sector and grow.

In just over two years, Norfolk has gone from having nothing in place to developing the biggest free-to-use IoT LoRaWAN network in the UK. This achievement was recognised by winning the IoT Award against a very strong field, where other shortlisted organisations included IoT Solutions Group, O2 Smart Metering, Pangea Connected and Vodafone.

Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Cabinet Member for Innovation, Transformation and Performance at Norfolk County Council said: “I am delighted that the innovation and hard work of the Information Management Team team at Norfolk County Council has been recognised with this award. Our CIO Geoff Connell and our CTO Kurt Frary lead a fantastic team who go the extra mile to innovate and work for Norfolk. To have gone from nothing to having built the largest network in the UK in two years is a really excellent achievement. I would also like to thank the New Anglia LEP for their support for this every growing success story.”

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