Mitigate and Adapt

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.

Two Years on in Wales

In this time of restricted movement I was cheered to see this recent tweet in my feed. With Fresher’s Week at many Universities highlighting the start of a very different year for students in the UK, it brought back memories of our trips to North Wales where we met the staff and students at this fascinating and innovative college.

We ran presentations & workshops on LoRaWAN® and applications using The Things Network. The enthusiasm of all attendees, both from the college, and Welsh authorities was impressive. Teaching at the college takes place through the Welsh language, though they welcomed us, even with Mark presenting through his native Dorset. The college has extensive grounds and runs as a model farm giving the students practical skills as they manage cattle, pig, forestry and crop units for profit and sustainability.

On our first trip, day two had to be abandoned due to heavy snow causing the college to close for several days, a surprise for us all given the time of year. Completing the event later, saw sensors deployed in the piggery and elsewhere. They have continued to develop ideas around the value of long range low power wireless sensing connected to the unique visual dashboard created by Mark and two students from UTC Reading.

We are looking forward to being able to return to such in person events, though next years The Things Conference will be an extended virtual one.

Happy 5th Birthday

The Things Network posted about their 5th year anniversary in August 2020. I had in mind that they started in July, but like most projects, pinning the start to a date is a difficult task and usually done retrospectively. I heard a similar discussion about Google’s birthday.

The Things Network 5th Anniversary card graphic
The Things Network 5th Anniversary August 2020

I learnt about The Things Network (TTN) in November 2015 when Mark Stanley presented the project at the monthly Reading Geek Night event. He concluded by saying how he loved the project for it’s open source aims and goal of bringing simple connectivity to everyone across the globe. Mark wanted to make Reading and Berkshire a leading adopter of the technology, and invited the audience to join him creating TTN Reading. I loved the idea too! The rest is history and is written up in other posts here and elsewhere. We will celebrate our 5 years in November and I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can do so face to face, rather than via video. We haven’t stopped during lock-down, though our projects have been hampered and rollouts delayed, as Autumn arrives we are seeing unseasonable green shoots, which is great, and as I think on how TTN has grown from zero to …. well, as they write in their blog ::

Together, we are embracing open standards, creating a breeding ground for innovation and pushing the boundaries of IoT. Among the most significant achievements of these years are:
117 000 users from 150 countries
1000 communities
13 000 gateways
340 000 devices

And with this smart new look to Thingitude, here’s to the next 5! – Mike