Jersey to be testbed for new internet network

JAPANESE tech giant Sony has announced its intention to create a new digital network in Jersey which would allow devices to connect to the internet without using 3G/4G or Wi-Fi technology.

Tom Noel
Tom Noel

The firm, which is working with JT, intends to create the Island’s second ‘Internet of Things’ network – pioneering internet technology which allows devices, such as air-quality sensors and traffic congestion monitors, to collect and share data automatically.

Sony’s ‘Low-Power, Wide-Area Network’, as with other IoT networks, is designed to connect with devices which only need to send relatively small amounts of data but over long periods of time, rather than standard devices like laptops and smartphones.

Examples of devices which could harness the technology include sensors which record traffic congestion or collect environmental data, such as temperature, air quality and humidity.

JT is working alongside Digital Jersey, which was set up to develop the Island’s tech sector, to build more IoT networks in the Island.

Digital Jersey chief executive Tony Moretta said that IoT technology was in its infancy and tech firms, such as Sony, were conducting trials to determine which types of network worked best for it.

A statement from JT said that Sony opted to use the Island for its high-speed ‘fibre’ internet network, as well its ‘varied terrain’ and the population’s digital connectivity.

Tom Noel, managing director of JT International, said that Jersey is ‘the perfect location’ to test new networks.

‘The LPWA technology is relatively new but its potential to interact with IoT technology is vast and will eventually change the way we live, work and do business,’ he said.

‘Sony’s LPWA technology performed better than expected so JT is primed to provide its customers with the best access to IoT technologies and full connectivity.’

Speaking at Digital Jersey’s annual review event on Friday, Mr Moretta said that Sony became interested in the project following a networking event.

‘That came about not only because of JT’s fantastic off-island reputation but also because when we launched the first IoT network here we did a bit of off-island PR,’ he said.

‘Sony came along and saw someone from JT at a conference and said: “Look, we would never have thought of Jersey in a million years to test this, but, when you mention it, it sounds ideal”.’

Steve Beck, general manager of telecoms research and development at Sony Europe Limited, said that JT’s support during the tests they had carried out so far had been ‘excellent’.

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