The Internet of Things (IoT) is not a new concept, but only recently has the sensor, compute and communication technology become inexpensive and capable enough to deploy in vast numbers.
Many startups and large companies have and are developing bespoke sensors to measure and manage all sorts of ‘things’, be it environmental such as CO2, temperature, humidity etc – or physical such as door locks, water height, lighting controls, safety switches, concrete curing, power… All have one need – communications.
Without communications, IoT is dumb as the old mechanical gas meters in your house. So many clever engineers have designed Long Range Low Power communication systems to connect all the sensors (nodes) to systems that process and make sense of the sensors collectively, as well as individually. Things like, the power is off and the basement is flooding, raise an alert with the electrician and plumber!
These Low Power systems work over very long distances and can penetrate brick walls, but are very low power so can get blocked if there is too much stuff between the transmitter and sensor. So What we need to connect devices together is a tiered network of coverage. Hence Macro – 10km radius, Metro – 2km+ radius, Micro 200m+ radius.
Typically we use LoRaWAN (the VHS of the IoT world), but there are a number of other technologies we support, in particular NB-IoT, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-SUN, Sigfox and others depending on the coverage, sensor and integration requirement.
Working with Airwave allows us to cover the remotest parts of the countryside using their highly resilient base station locations. These locations provide coverage to farms and hamlets who need the sensors to improve crops, farm security, stock management and climate management. It also frees time for farmers, agricultural workers and support organisations by having a clear view of what’s happening without having to travel all the time. It’s also cool for auditing.
For in town Metro coverage, we work with local councils, in particular supporting home living, SWMP/SUDS and asset management. Using multiple council locations allows us to provide interlocking IoT coverage for whole towns, villages and conurbations.
For neighbourhood and community coverage we work with churches by installing free internet and Wi-Fi, allowing church services to be broadcast to their community whilst also using these locations to ensure neighbourhood residents are safe at in their home. These home sensors ensure that community teams can respond immediately if elderly or vulnerable people are in distress.