We have enabled an open ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) network - The Things Network Geelong - so anyone can utilise and benefit from this emerging technology.
The IoT can be described as a network of things, objects or assets which are connected to the internet with sensors and software. This enables them to acquire valuable data from their environment.
‘Things’ that can be connected
The possibilities are endless. Some of the more common applications include;
- Parks and gardens: sensors beneath soil can measure moisture levels and temperature, providing real-time information on soil and plant health.
- Agriculture: sensors can track the movements of livestock, monitor rainfall and measure plant growth, providing farmers with a overall picture of farm and land health.
- Environmental: sensors placed in the environment can monitor air pollution, humidity, light, temperature and noise.
- Buildings and assets: sensors on entrances, exits and gathering spaces provide information on use and occupancy including community centres, sporting grounds or toilet blocks. Smart buildings detect if a conference room is full and the air conditioning needs to turn on, or if everyone has gone home for the day the lights can switch off. By understanding building usage it also helps us to better manage assets.
- Parking: in-bay sensors show how many spaces are available/occupied and for how long. Over time this provides a detailed picture of parking needs to inform planning. When provided to the community, this information helps people to move about the City more easily.
- Waste: sensors in bins monitor volume and temperature to indicate when they need emptying. This can also optimise collection routes and provide insight into public space usage.
- Street lighting: sensors detect light levels and people movements to turn on and off accordingly, saving precious resources.
- Flood monitoring: sensors can be placed in flood prone areas to monitor water levels and rising tides which can pre-empt flood episodes.
I want to utilise IoT, where do I start?
Think about the types of data that would allow you to make better decisions, deliver a better service, or solve an ongoing problem. Once this is understood, you can begin to explore how sensors can help you collect this information.
There is an online community at ‘The Things Network Geelong' to help with your exploration. Post your question to the public forum or get in touch with the Smart City Office.
Simply visit ‘The Things Network Geelong’ to create an account. Many local governments around Australia and the world are beginning to offer this service to their communities and Greater Geelong has one of the largest networks.
IoT and our aspirations to be a Smart City
A basic sensor tells us when something is occupied, turned off, at capacity or not functioning. This is valuable information and can help us make better informed decisions and deliver more efficient services.
When we automate these decisions, the gains are vast. For example:
- a smart building knows when to turn the heating on and the lights on, as it senses the movement of people
- a smart bin informs waste collection they don’t need emptying when they are only half full
- a smart sports field turns its lights on for a late-night game
- a smart park or garden knows when the soil is damp and skips the next water.
The automation of these decisions not only saves precious time and resources, it helps to protect our environment.
Delivery of better services
When we ‘switch-on’ objects and assets we enable them to receive valuable information. This allows our physical and natural environment to begin talking to us and our decisions can be informed by real data.
To learn how the City is embracing this clever technology, take our digital data tour.
Support for a thriving, Clever and Creative region
Free, open access to The Things Network is one way the City is supporting local industry, organisations and businesses to embrace new and emerging technologies in order to grow, strengthen and diversify.
Through innovation and technological advancement we also attract new industries and investors to our region which supports local jobs and economic opportunity.
Safety, privacy and security
Key to the success of sensor technology is the ability to draw insight from the information we collect. A system has been established to analyse and safely store the data we collect, in line with the Victorian Data Protection Act 2014.
No personal or sensitive information is acquired. Much of this data is open and can be accessed and utilised via our open data platform- Geelong Data Exchange. Read more about how the City upholds data privacy and protection.
Sensors operate at a very low frequency, similar to radio-waves, so they are safe and cost effective. They are solar powered or use long-life batteries.
How it actually works...
The Things Network Geelong uses LoRaWAN Technology (Long Range Wide Area Network). We have established gateways by positioning antennas on our assets which receive the sensor signals.
As the they are long-range, you don’t need to be close to a gateway for your sensors to work.
If you’re working on a project that uses sensors and The Things Network we’d love to hear about it. No matter what stage you’re up to, get in touch with the Smart City Office: [email protected].