News

New network platform available for Twente region Internet of Things network expands

The Province of Overijssel and many local authorities want to become smart regions or cities. The University of Twente has now made it possible to achieve that ambition even sooner. The university has succeeded in expanding the Internet of Things (IoT) network to cover the entire region of Twente. The network is open to researchers, companies and students, enabling them to experiment with new IoT technologies, products and services.

The University of Twente has been at the forefront of research and development work on the Internet of Things for several decades now. This research, in which wireless sensor network technology is the central focus, has already produced numerous innovations and spin-off companies.

It’s not just people who are always online, things are too

It’s not just people who are always online, things are too. These include everyday items or equipments such as refrigerators and thermostats, as well as cars, watch and sport shoes. Within a few years, the stuff we surround ourselves with – both at home and elsewhere – will all be linked up. Together, these items will form a smart environment.

Smart Society and Smart Industry

In (the near) future, the Internet of Things is expected to improve production processes. Dr Nirvana Meratnia is an Associate Professor in the University of Twente’s Pervasive Systems group and an expert in the field of sensor data analytics and IoT. She points out that: “Throughout the world, as in Twente, people are heavily engaged in the development of Smart Society and Smart Industry. Sensors and the IoT play a crucial part in this. This approach offers solutions to a wide range of issues, in areas such as healthcare, energy, environment, and safety.”

Great Promise or Big Brother?

The Internet of Things holds out great promise, in the form of infinite potential and infinite opportunities. However, it also raises many questions for companies and residents alike. Twente’s IoT platform will make it possible to answer questions like this. It will also make it easy to develop, test and evaluate new IoT products and services for a specific group of users. The IoT will allow government, companies and residents to obtain data from sensors that are scattered across a large geographical area (the Twente region), in a simple, reliable and safe manner. The result is an improved (real-time) understanding of the condition and status of objects (roads, houses, drainage, lighting, etc.) and living beings (such as domestic pets and livestock).

Technology

Twente’s IoT platform is based on the LoRa (Long Range Wide Area Network) technology. This technology is able to span greater distances (of up to several kilometres), yet it has a relatively low energy consumption. Prof. Paul Havinga, Chair of Pervasive Systems, notes that: “It is essential in IoT that the sensors have a low power consumption, so that they can continue to operate for many years powered only by a small battery. While LoRa technology provides an excellent launching pad, it needs to be supplemented with the very latest techniques in areas such as reliability, security and sensor data analytics.” This technology has recently been the focus of increasing interest. KPN plans to use it in the Netherlands, while The Things Network (TTN) initiative is also making use of this technology. The Twente IoT platform focuses on open data, on applications that require a high level of reliability and security, and which ensure privacy.

Details about the Twente IoT platform and about opportunities to get involved are available from the coordinators, Dr Nirvana Meratnia, (n.meratnia@utwente.nl) and prof. Paul Havinga (p.j.m.havinga@utwente.nl).