Internet of Things network roll-out for Scotland

Four locations across Scotland are set to benefit from the roll-out of new networks to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Aberdeen, Dundee, Paisley, and Orkney will see the deployment of low power wide area network technology, known as LoRa – a type of IoT network – for businesses, public sector and communities.

The project will enable the development of new products and services, with devices potentially being used to help monitor damp in social housing and for assisted living capabilities for the elderly.

Backed by one of Scotland’s eight innovation centres, CENSIS, which specialises in the development of sensor-based device technologies, the scheme aims to tap the potential of smart networks in Scotland.

“Scotland has all the ingredients required to be a world-class digital location,” said Mark Begbie, Business Development Director at CENSIS. “As we roll out LoRa across the country, the affordable, open networks will give SMEs low-cost access to next-generation connectivity, helping them to grow through the development of new solutions and devices with global export potential.

“These new IoT networks will be a force for public good too, through the monitoring and protection of the vulnerable in society, as well as our historic sites and the environment. At the same time, they will open up opportunities for communities to develop their own solutions across a diverse set of potential applications.

“As we look to roll out the network through more urban and rural areas in Scotland, it will create a great deal of exciting opportunities for businesses and government across the country. It will also further our understanding of the potential benefits of this technology in both urban and rural economies. The IoT has the potential to be as disruptive as the internet has been already to daily life.”

A consortium of experts, which includes CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems; Stream Technologies, and Boston Networks will work on the project, which they claim will allow even small, battery-powered objects to send and receive data efficiently.

The network could be used to develop building and indoor environmental monitors, pollution sensors, tags for tracking valuable assets or livestock, and social care devices.

The deployment of the LoRa network in Orkney will build on the island’s existing TV White Space (TVWS) technology, which uses VHF/UHF channels, released by the analogue TV switch-off, to transmit internet traffic wirelessly over long distances. It will complement this radio infrastructure for broadband delivery, by bringing IoT connectivity to the island.

Implementation throughout Paisley and parts of wider Renfrewshire will enhance the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. The network will be used to monitor local social housing for damp and help tackle fuel poverty.

Earlier this year, the consortium established LoRa networks in Glasgow and Inverness, the latter as part of Inverness Campus’s £13-million An Lòchran building. An Lòchran houses Scotland’s first digital demonstration centre, #hellodigital, to help people in business, education, and research across the Highlands and Islands make the most of broadband, IoT, and digital technologies.