Highlands ‘in vanguard of IoT revolution’

The Highlands’ first low power, wide area (LoRa) Internet of Things (IoT) network has been launched at the new £13m An Lòchran building, opened last week by Deputy First Minister John Swinney on Inverness Campus.

It is the result of a joint venture between CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, Stream Technologies and SPICA Technologies aimed at developing new business solutions.

Using data to manage environment

Monitoring a range of data – including temperature, humidity, CO2 emissions, noise, and light – the network will help the building’s owners and occupants make better decisions about how they manage their environment, through data visualisation and analytics.

It will also allow businesses in the Highlands to access emerging IoT technologies and support companies in developing new products and services. The consortium aims to expand the network beyond the An Lòchran building, helping energy, life sciences, digital and agricultural businesses in the local area to embrace its potential.

Vanguard of IoT development

CENSIS said it will hold a series of workshops at the Inverness Campus during the project’s initial six months to help Highlands small and medium enterprises to understand how they can make use of the technology to enable the IoT.

Mark Begbie, Business Development Director at CENSIS, said: “This project in Inverness is bringing the cutting edge of the IoT revolution right to the heart of our highland community, putting it in the vanguard of IoT development in the UK.

“Building on foundations laid by other initiatives, we are delivering the infrastructure to enable our communities and businesses to work with leading experts to connect devices, share data and bring about better decision-making.

Opportunities for businesses in the Highlands and Islands

“As we look to roll out the network through urban and rural areas, we will create exciting opportunities for businesses in the Highlands and Islands.

“Long range, affordable and low power IoT connectivity will open up enormous possibilities across all sectors; from agricultural and environmental monitoring, to safer social care and more efficient transport and infrastructure. This will also enhance our understanding of the potential benefits of this technology in a rural economy.

“With fewer than 10% of the predicted 30 billion nodes by 2020 likely to be connected to the internet using cellular technology, networks like LoRa are going to become increasingly important. It has the potential to be as disruptive to businesses as the internet has been already to daily life – and the Highlands is leading the way.”

Encouraging collaboration

The Inverness Campus has been designed to encourage collaboration between business, research and academia, both within the campus and with neighbouring organisations such as LifeScan Scotland, Raigmore Hospital and the Centre for Health Science.

As reported previously by FutureScot, An Lòchran will house the country’s first digital demonstration centre, #hellodigital, to help people in business, education and research make the most of broadband and digital technology.

Earlier this year, CENSIS announced it had created an IoT network in Glasgow, with a consortium of organisations, including Stream Technologies, Semtech Inc., Boston Networks, Glasgow University, Strathclyde University and Glasgow Caledonian University. It covers 12km2 across the city, including the commercial centre, Merchant City and the West End.

Stay up to speed on Scottish tech news

Sign up for FS Fives – our daily tech newsletter