Around the time the 2020 COVID lockdown started we had a spate of burglaries in our neighbourhood. Not super smart or successful as nearly everyone was at home, so the chap found himself getting chased down the street on more than one occasion – but it was unsettling nevertheless.
When lockdown happened, all of our local government work evaporated – it was humbling to realise how little the promise of smart cities mattered at that point in time, and I think a great number of talented teccies had to cope with a collapsing ego and recognise what the really important work was. Suddenly nurses, carers, corner shops and postal workers were in the headlines and the rest of us could only applaud their efforts at keeping us going.
With most of our work disappearing I had to decide what to do with my developers, Traecy and Vil. Rather than furlough them I thought that maybe we could do something to help our neighbourhood.
This post looks back at our work to create a county-wide LoRaWAN network and our two biggest smart city / smart community projects of 2020 – Falls prevention system for older people, and MyWay student safety.
Having recently had time to catch up on a video or two brought me back to The Things Conference UK that we hosted in Reading last October. None of us knew how the world would change a few months later. This slide visualises a city of dwellers having to mitigate poor air quality by wearing masks, and shows how this can be tackled by adapting the streetscape in innovative ways. Erica Purvis consults as a visionary helping businesses and cities prepare for the future life of their products and services. In presenting to the audience Erica talked about design for the circular economy, re-use vs recycle, the impact of design on the planet & people, and smart city design strategies as bridges to the world we want to live in.
All this was in the context of The Things Network and Internet of Things (IoT) prompting us to think, not only about the lifecycle of IoT devices and their physical impact on the planet, but how the data collected and services enabled by their deployment can become the best enabler for good change. City data that is currently being collected automatically includes air quality, micro-climate conditions, water quality, noise levels. These feed analytics to the Local Authority and aid streetscape planning and design. In the past, intermittent surveying was the main source of data. With IoT devices connecting to a city wide LPWAN Things Network data is collected throughout the day, helping build a digital twin of the city.
People movement and street sentiment data can help inform residents & visitors regarding routes to home, to work or education; help guide businesses planning to locate premises within the city; and at this time of restrictions informs the local authority thus allowing wider pavements to be provided when needed to aid social distancing.
Erica’s video is available on YouTube and a playlist of other videos from the The Things Conference 2019 can be found here.
January 2020 sees the global Things Conference going virtual with a week of online events available around the world. Get your tickets now.
Thingitude offer services to support IoT and LPWAN deployment for smart cities, businesses and local authorities. We run workshops for professionals and community groups. Contact us for details.