In an Asia Pacific first, The Things Conference comes to Adelaide next month, bringing with it the promise of low-cost connectivity using thousands of Internet of Things (IoT) devices across Australia and the world.
The Things Network began just over three years ago with a few electronics enthusiasts experimenting with LoRaWAN – micro-computers that send tiny packets of information over wide areas at low cost – and grew into a commercially viable global network of over linking sensors on the ground, with the ability to connect exponentially using micro satellites.
The network has been driven by strong interest from local government and agricultural communities where water is at a premium and the need for monitoring things like tank levels in remote areas becomes critical.
“Simply knowing if a device is on or off can save a farmer or householder thousands of dollars and time spent trekking around a property making manual checks,” says conference organiser Leo Gaggl, co-founder of the nonprofit Growing Data Foundation.
“Adelaide is a world leader in this field, which has been driven mainly out of Europe, hence the fact that the first conference in the Asia Pacific is being held here.”
One of the projects on show at the conference will be the “Smart Nest”, an innovative sensor system designed to collect data on native birds and animals.
“The project started at GovHack, when the Growing Data Foundation set out to monitor threatened species, aiming to improve biodiversity,” Mr Gaggl said.
“The result was the development of Smart Nests to monitor the comings and goings of parrots and other birds, and we are now exploring the use of the same technology with Smart Hollows for wombats and earth-burrowing animals.”
University of Adelaide PhD student and conservationist Samantha Bywaters and James Smith from fauNature are working with local councils to collect nesting data remotely.
“We used to conduct manual checks on things like bird movement, temperature and humidity of nests,” Ms Bywaters said. “The result was next to no data. Using The Things Network, we have now proven that the sensors work, and suddenly we have the potential to collect thousands or even millions of data points, which allows us to predict where support or action might be needed.”
Mr Gaggl said that the LoRaWan device network had grown substantially in the past few months, with each new node increasing the opportunities (see map https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/map).
“The network has been built out from a few enthusiasts running their own gateways at home to a substantial network with help from local government. Yesterday I was out at Ardrossan and realised we can now cover the whole Gulf of St Vincent using LoRaWan devices the size of a matchbox, getting ranges of 90 to 100 km.
“This is a network that can talk to the internet without 3G or WiFi, and has extremely low battery usage, long range and low bandwidth, extending opportunities for makers, inventors and creatives.”
The Things Conference on Tour
The Things Conference on Tour is coming to the Asia Pacific region for the first time. The Things Network is the world’s largest decentralised and collaborative Internet of Things (IoT) network, with over 8,000 gateways around the world, supported by tens of thousands of developers and used by businesses, governments and NGOs to protect, monitor and extract value from their assets and environments.
The two-day event will be held over 18-19 November 2019 in Adelaide, South Australia. On Monday the key focus is an exclusive masterclass held by the CTO and Co-founder of The Things Network, Johan Stocking. On Tuesday attention moves to the Stamford Grand for the first The Things Conference Asia Pacific On Tour, a day long deep dive into how organisations can maximise their investment in The Things Network.
To attend the conference please visit: https://thethingsnetwork.org.au
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