Sydney Community "Internet of Things" Network - Launching from UTS to Ultimo and beyond...
UTS and Meshed have deployed an Ultimo-based public access open data network to accelerate the city’s innovation, sustainability, economic development and community engagement outcomes.
The Sydney Community IoT Network is based on the highly successful Amsterdam “The Things Network” (TTN) project, which saw in a period of 4 weeks, city-wide smart sensor network coverage across Amsterdam that was crowd sourced and implemented “by the people for the people.”
From day one, a variety of compelling use cases were built on top of this low power, long range, open standards network. Six months later, the smart cities and asset management innovation platform now supports dozens of community and business applications for smart sensor devices, including:
- monitoring rainwater levels in boats across the many neighbourhood canals;
- helping people access shared solar power via the WeShareSolar app;
- monitoring the location and safety of bicycles across the city; and
- assisting the Port of Amsterdam to provide real time management information about watercraft movements to the broader maritime community.
Watch Professor Stuart White discuss some of the possibilities of the Sydney Community Internet of Things Network below.
This technology, this network, will enable us to measure a huge range of things, including some we haven’t even thought of. But at the very least, we’ll be able to measure the health of the city, we’ll be able to measure air quality, water quality, temperature, humidity, a whole range of environmental factors, energy use, water use.
The network is not designed for streaming, it’s not to replace the Internet, it’s to connect sensors and bring the cost of those sensors down, because of the reduced power and the longer battery life. What it will enable is free access of lower cost sensors to the Internet, not the Internet itself – so it won’t be used for videos, it won’t be used for streaming – it’ll be used for packets of data, which will tell us anything we want to know from these sensors.
This project has enormous scope for the future – there’ll be the opportunity for new innovation, new technologies, new startups, as well as engaging with existing partnerships with the City of Sydney and other organisations, who are interested in measuring and monitoring a whole range of environmental parameters. We see it as an important part of the research piece, the engagement piece, but also innovation, entrepreneurialism and new businesses.
Our vision is to “democratise the internet of things” using best of breed open standards technology that is easily accessible to all.
UTS is taking the lead to do this by offering a public access IoT network that can be used for people to connect their smart sensors to, for free. By building an open standard IoT network, the city can rapidly deploy a raft of applications by anyone who lives, works or invests in the city.
Furthermore, the model is easily scalable. The IoT network gateways can support thousands of devices per gateway, which is a perfect way to encourage people and community organisations to “crowd source” their own use cases, smart sensor networks and smart apps.
Supports Sydney’s vision to be a leading “green, global and connected” city, starting in Ultimo.
Provides a ubiquitous & open innovation platform for urban data, which will aid in driving towards a low-carbon and resilient future.
Uses open standards technology that can be leveraged by the City, university students, staff, entrepreneurs, businesses and residents.
Fosters new jobs in the digital creative sector and stimulates innovation in high tech products and services.
Supports a range of exciting potential use cases from Smart Locale to a City Fitness Tracker.
Why does IoT Matter?
At a city level, emerging open data analytics platforms, mobile, cloud and social media networks, coupled with people “crowd sourcing” new smart city based applications are enabling cities to embrace the new energy economy (through accessing solar energy and energy management systems, home & industry off grid battery storage, EVs and other related systems) and to construct more inclusive societies (through the implementation of car pooling and the development of the sharing economy).
The “internet of things” where connectivity and information can be shared between people and devices or between automated systems, brings these disruptive components of digital transformation together by enabling smart cities open data platforms for cities.
Open Standards Technology
The technology used for the community network is a LPWAN standard known as LoRaWANTM , which is designed to support low power, long range smart sensor devices, such as battery powered or solar powered devices. The network uses the Industrial Scientific & Medical (ISM) wireless spectrum radio frequency 915 MHz band.
LoRaWANTM is a global open standard that is fast becoming the most prevalent IoT LPWAN solution given its bi-directional communication, security, reliability, flexibility and coverage attributes. LoRa technology is now widely deployed in across Europe, and is gaining traction here in Australia as an effective remote monitoring and asset management solution for smart grids, smart metering, water AMR and smart buildings.
The technology is endorsed by the global LoRa-Alliance, which has the support of the world’s largest IoT device OEMs and systems integrators due to its robust, secure and scalable features, and its “no lock in contracts” business model.
Key Network Features
The LoRaWANTM technology has several advantages:
- connecting is "transactionless" & no need to use 3G, Bluetooth or WiFi
- low or no cost for data collection & transfer to the internet
- very low power means replacement of sensor batteries extends to 3-5 years
- use of the spectrum does not require a carrier licence
Watch below, as Meshed Founder and Technical Director Andrew Maggio discusses the technology behind the Sydney Community Internet of Things Network.
So the LoRaWAN technology is designed from the ground up as a low power, long range, low bandwidth technology. It’s perfect for connecting devices to the Internet.
The devices that will typically be used on this network will be sensor devices, devices that will sense things like temperature or humidity or lighting, perhaps chlorine levels, in a water tank, various things.
This technology, LoRaWAN, in conjunction with the Things Network, has been used in Amsterdam to great success, and is being deployed in a number of cities around the world already.
In Amsterdam, they use this technology to sense when rowboats were filling up with water, and then send the owners an SMS so they could do something about it
So these sensors, along with the network we’ve deployed, will be useful for doing things like measuring the heat island effect, measuring carbon dioxide levels and pollution levels, and measuring noise levels and things like that.
So we’re working with other universities and city councils to deploy the same technology, and we’d encourage anybody else who’s interested in deploying it in their region to come and talk to Meshed.
Innovative Use Cases
The Sydney Community IoT network is well aligned to the objectives of Smart Locale, whose mission is to accelerate the transformation of the Ultimo-Pyrmont local economy into an internationally recognised showplace for smart, safe, sustainable living by 2020. We would welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with members on the benefits of using IoT to meet energy management and other goals.
The Sydney Community IoT network could be used by students and entrepreneurs to build new applications, as well as to better integrate existing smart apps for a range of smart cities solutions. Some examples include:
- smart poles/LED street lighting/EV Charging
- smart parking
- city asset tracking
City Fitness Tracker
Imagine if the city had a “Fitbit” – a smart sensor network that monitors the overall amenity and health of the city, across a broad range of indicators such as air quality, temperature, noise, environmental condition and traffic congestion.
Sydney could be the first city in Australia to leap frog ahead of current weather and environmental reporting models, and deploy a city-wide amenity monitoring solution. The network could be “crowd-sourced”, through inviting the public to host the Smart Citizen sensors that would report the data to a Smart City Dashboard.
Sensors could report on data relating to issues such as: noise, carbon monoxide/air particulates/dust, ozone, lead levels in soil, temperature and humidity, luminosity and shade, wind, vibrations and hazardous waste pollution.
For more details about the Sydney Community Internet of Things Network, contact ISF Director, Professor Stuart White, or Professor Damien Giurco.