Internet of Things network to benefit research, students and startups

ISF Director Stuart White (L) Meshed Technical Director Andrew Maggio

ISF Director Stuart White (L) Meshed Technical Director Andrew Maggio

In summary: 
  • A new UTS-industry collaboration has launched a free Internet of Things network access platform in Sydney
  • The service harnesses sensors for measuring a host of phenomena, from heat to pollution, to better inform researchers and business

Measuring noise and air pollution, urban heat islands, and a host of other as yet unthought of phenomena is now possible through a new free-to-use, real-time smart sensor data network and innovation platform for researchers, students and businesses in Sydney's CBD.

UTS's Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) with Sydney-based Internet of Things integrator, Meshed Pty Ltd, in partnership with The Things Network (TTN) today launched the public access Internet of Things (IoT) low-power, long-range, wide-area network (LPWAN) for Sydney.

The the new IoT network enables anyone within range of the Sydney gateway to connect a device to the internet for free, to obtain sensor data. The novel way of accessing the Internet doesn't requre cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or other wireless technologies and represents a new low-cost, low-power niche for entrepreneurs, researchers and students to exploit.

More than 14 billion devices are connected to the internet world-wide, with a forecast to grow to over 26 billion connected units by 2020 and – possibly 1 trillion by 2035 (McKinsey 2015). Research undertaken by the IoT Alliance Australia has revealed $116 billion of potential upside to the Australian economy by 2025.

The network is based on the open standard technology, LoRaWANTM which uses the 915MHz Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) wireless spectrum band. LoRaWANTM is fast becoming an important low cost connectivity option to support the anticipated explosion in connected devices and smart sensor networks for smart cities, smart living, asset management, energy metering, water management, industry 4.0, smart farming and environmental monitoring.

UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Glenn Wightwick said the project was infused with the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration now thriving in Sydney, embraced by government, university researchers, creative tech startups and leading business innovators.

“The opportunity for UTS to work with Meshed and the IoT Alliance to enable connectivity for an Internet of Things innovation platform for developers, entrepreneurs and businesses was too good to miss,” Professor Wightwick said. 'UTS involvement commenced with extensive discussions between ISF and Faculty of Engineering and IT research staff and Meshed colleagues. The outcomes benefit not only local business, but also students and researchers installing, receiving feedback and publishing data from low cost sensors to support smart city, precinct and campus applications."

The Things Network kick-starter campaign, started in Amsterdam in October 2015, with the mission to build an open, free and decentralized internet of things network. TTN is now a thriving global community network with city-wide community gateways being deployed in cities such as Amsterdam, New York, Zurich, Madrid, San Francisco, San Paulo, London and Singapore.

Meshed is the initiator for the Sydney community IoT network. The model adopted by Meshed allows companies and communities to deploy their own IoT data networks at a fraction of the cost of alternative IoT carrier networks.

Catherine Caruana-McManus, Director of Strategy and Sales for Meshed has fostered collaborations with leading universities and cities. “Free to use, community IoT networks are democratising the internet of things by enabling communities and industry leaders to obtain real-time data about the things that matter most to them and respond faster,” Ms Caruana-McManus said.

Her colleague, Meshed Director of Technology said the interoperability and flexibility of LoRaWANTM had greatly simplified the way devices connect to the web. "Used together with The Things Network, it has enabled the creation of new solutions that were previously not possible,” Mr Maggio said.

Photo by Terry Clinton Video Production by Robert Button and Terry Clinton