LoRa Gateways, Nodes, Internet of Things, Raspberry Pi’s; this conference had everything!October 29, 2018
Coderus attended and demoed at the two-day Things Network Conference, the first of its kind in the UK.
The conference represented all the exciting tech opportunities that this emerging technology will bring. Coderus is already experienced in this technology, after teaming up with another Innovation Martlesham company to set up a Things Network gateway. This gateway has enabled businesses to log into the LoRaWAN network. In long term, The Things Network over LoRaWAN will enable the connectivity that smart cities promise.
The Coderus team was there to attend inspirational talks, educational workshops, network with other tech companies and show a series of demos to highlight some of the new usages of LoRa, such as mobile integration.
What we learnt
The new era revolves around connectivity and all the promising features that LoRaWAN will bring. To begin with, LoRa makes use of low frequency radio waves resulting in low power usage and low entry cost, while also allowing a range of 10km. This low power usage allows devices to run for two to ten years on average on batteries alone -making use of unlicensed frequency bands to keep costs down by not requiring individuals to purchase expensive licenses.
What makes LoRaWAN even more special is the connectivity that offers among businesses. With Digital Catapult’s joint network, the network has expanded and LoRa gained momentum.
With LoRa being the platform for the Internet of Things, each LoRaWAN Gateway can handle thousands of nodes and enable communication within the network.
With most of the talks referring to use case examples, LoRaWAN will contribute to smart cities, autonomous vehicles and augmented cognition, just to name a few.
The event itself was a great opportunity for networking, as we talked to some of the members of local council, who recognised the technology is an effective solution to the challenges they’re facing.
One of our developers particularly enjoyed Paul Foster’s talk. As a Microsoft representative, he was focused on increasing the smartness of nodes instead of the basic nodes that broadcast raw data, such as a low power smart camera that can run image recognition onboard and then publish the results via The Things Network.
Amongst other companies that were sponsoring the event, there were a few with some really interesting products. A common trend was a hardware manufacturers, such as Pi Supply. Coderus uses Raspberry Pi for prototyping, amongst others, making the LoRa module underdevelopment by Pi Supply particularly interesting. The kind of rapid prototyping it allows, is invaluable during the early stages of project development. The Kickstarter campaign has already reached its funding goal and we can’t wait for them to arrive. They also provide a number of open source libraries on their Github to get up and running with the hardware.
The workshops covered a plethora of topics and hardware platforms as well as different technological capabilities.
Building a Temperature Sensor was an entry level workshop that taught attendees how to get up and running with LoRa in just 45 minutes. Not only it covered connecting to The Things Network, but allowed participants to send sensor data over LoRaWAN, and introduced some great libraries which can be used to build on what the workshop offered.
On the other side, The LoRa PHY workshop, based on the physical protocol for LoRa, was a fully in-depth technical review of how the technology worked.
For the foreseeable future LoRaWAN will bring new opportunities, alongside new challenges. By sponsoring the upcoming Dev://east event, which is Ipswich’s second developer conference, and supporting TTN Suffolk meet-ups, Coderus make sure that will make the most of this new technology and the new tech opportunities that will come along the way.