Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the collection of physical devices or smart infrastructure that are internet enabled and can communicate data in real-time. This takes the internet beyond the virtual or digital world, into the devices, buildings and infrastructure around us. This technology provides new opportunities for energy efficiency, sustainability, live feed data collection for better decision making and improved service delivery.
As part of the Ballarat Smart Cities and Suburbs project, a network of LoRaWAN (Long Range, low power Wide-Area Network) gateways were installed throughout the city providing a major upgrade of digital infrastructure for enabling IoT technology in the City of Ballarat.
The new LoRaWAN network provides coverage to the majority of the Greater Ballarat urban area. It is a free, open wireless network service enabling any organisation, community group or individual to connect LoRaWAN enabled devices.
Data from devices are communicated via the Things Network which is an open source, global decentralised network for IoT devices and allows users to access their data feeds and integration with digital applications. Because of the open source nature of this technology, there is the maximum potential for digital innovation including at grass-roots levels. The Ballarat Hackerspace for example have provided workshops for participants to build their own IoT devices.
A number of pilot studies are underway using the LoRaWAN network with IoT sensors in Ballarat by the City of Ballarat and Federation University. This includes the installation of smart bins and people counters (https://ballaratopendata.org.au/dataset/wifi-device-counters) by the City of Ballarat and weather sensors by both the City of Ballarat and Federation University (https://ballaratopendata.org.au/dataset?q=weather). These datasets are available on the Ballarat Open Data and contribute to the sustainability and weather dashboards.
For a quick introduction, see the video below from the Things Network