Introduction to LoRaWAN and the Smart Berkshire network

Last month I was asked to give a talk for the British Computer Society. With half the audience in the room and half online it presented some interesting challenges for a live presentation. A swift rehearsal the night before helped iron out the wrinkles in our tech setup. Thanks to Simon Morris (of Reading Geek Night fame) and Chris Todd-Davies (BCS) for their help.

BCS asked for a longer talk than I would typically give at a meetup, so I used a couple of videos in the talk to help keep it fresh and give people a break from my voice. Thanks to Mike for making a video about an allotments project we’ve been doing with a local town council. I particularly like this because it shows how an idea born from a community project can grow. The other video is the highlights reel for the Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Network (aka SmartBerks) which covers all the challenges they set for local businesses to address.

Here’s the video of the talk. The talk itself lasts just over an hour, and is then followed by about half an hour of good questions from the audience.

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