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.
Thingitude has been working with Reading Council since 2016 on a variety of LoRaWAN projects, monitoring traffic lights, counting people in venues, plus initiatives to bridge the gap between geeks and artists.
A couple of years ago Reading led a successful bid for Local Growth funds to create the Thames Valley Smart City Cluster which covered most of Berkshire (West Berks, Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest).
Thingitude was asked to help plan, configure and support a LoRaWAN network using The Things Stack to cover the region, and to work with the four local authorities to explain the technology and identify some key use cases for each council.
The LoRaWAN network is live, providing good coverage across the region, and we are now expanding it for the other local authorities in Berkshire.
The Thames Valley Smart City Cluster launched 9 challenges to local businesses, who were invited to bid for funding to tackle the challenges and deliver significant live deployments to prove the technology could deliver meaningful benefits.
Last month the results of the 9 challenges were presented in a Showcase event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this was an online event. One of the plus points of this is that it was recorded!
Thingitude successfully bid for two of the challenges, and you can see our presentations in the video above.
Falls Prevention System – at 16 mins
Preventing falls among older people can improve wellbeing, and maintain independence and dignity for individuals, and it can relieve the pressure on Social Care and NHS to the tune of £4Bn per year.
You can read a bit more about FPS at https://fallspreventionsystem.com
MyWay student safety – at 2 hours 1 min
Reading is a relatively safe university town for women students, but nevertheless most women students feel unsafe walking alone, particularly at night. Regular press reports show that women students do not get the support they need from universities and the Police, and as there are 1.2 million women students in the UK, we can make a huge difference to well-being if we can make them feel safer.
Here is a short video showing the MyWay app in action:
We owe thanks to so many people and organisations who helped make these projects a success:
The wonderful older residents of West Berks who put their trust in us and volunteered to be part of the trial. Anonymous to readers of this post, but their faces and names are very much in our hearts.
West Berks Council staff who have been supportive and responsive throughout the FPS project.
More than 100 women students who have taken part in user surveys, interviews, co-design workshops, and given us valuable feedback on the MyWay app.
RUSU – University of Reading’s student union, who have been wonderfully supportive and helped us contact the students.
University of Reading – who have been supportive throughout, helped me find a fantastic developer in Vil, and The MERL who gave us a safe space to interview students.
Reading Council – for believing in us and giving us permission to install street sensors across the town.
The Curious Lounge – fabulous, super welcoming venue for co-design workshops.
Stantec – who work tirelessly behind the scenes herding the many cats involved in the smart city cluster and somehow keep us all smiling throughout.