‘Work smarter not harder’ is a concept we are becoming increasingly familiar with, and as a result we are building cars, appliances, devices and other ‘things’ that are capable of helping us achieve that standard: internet-ready and data-enabled.
This network, known as the Internet of Things (IoT) is embedded with software, sensors, actuators and other elements that allow electronics to connect and exchange data.
The Altoview smart sensor platform was developed by Campbell Scientific Australia to address the need for real-time data management across a range of industries, including food services, health care and agriculture, and has become an integral part of Townsville City Council’s Smart City Initiative.
“The Altoview concept was actually started back in 1998, when our Research and Development Manager Alex Thomas commenced research on a project title the Wireless Sensor LAN which was originally aimed at the agriculture market,” General Manager Adam Parsons said.
“We revisited the idea in 2015 and quickly saw with the advancements of new wireless technologies our solution would no longer be limited to short-range agricultural applications.”
Campbell Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers in data loggers and data acquisition solutions, including sensors, software, measurement and control peripherals and mounting systems.
“The great thing about IoT is the ability to be able to distribute many sensors over a wide area – not something affordable with our traditional data loggers,” Adam said.
“Our Campbell Scientific data loggers are designed for research grade applications and rugged sites like the outback and Antarctica. Utilising the rapidly evolving IoT and related technology means we could measure almost anything and deliver data to where the user wants it, when they want it, and how they want it.
The program was developed by the local research and development team, all engineering graduates from James Cook University.
“We believe IoT starts with measurements” Adam said. “This is our industry, it is what we know, and it is what we do better than most other companies. We really wanted to be a flag bearer to help drive the industry forward. “In late 2015 we were successful in a bid to provide a total IoT solution for our hometown, the city of Townsville, as part of the IBM Smart City Initiative. In July 2016, we launched the first fully connected citywide LoRaWAN Internet of Things communications network.”
“WE COULD REALISTICALLY PROVIDE MILLIONS OF LOW-COST, SINGLE MEASUREMENT DEVICES DELIVERING INFORMATION TO THE WEB.”
Townsville now has world class IoT network, with a coverage area of approximately 1000 square kilometers. The network, developed with the Townsville City Council, provides an open-access IoT network where sensors and other devices can be connected by anyone at any time. Community involvement is key for the company, and the open-source platform allows the community to develop and test innovative IoT ideas.
“We have worked with TCC since the installation of the network getting involved with the local community to help teach how to use to IoT technology,” Adam said.
“We have also partnered with James Cook University with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership for flood warning trials, and held a student day in partnership with the TCC and JCU where university students were taught how to develop a LoRa node using Arduino-based development kit to count pedestrian traffic along the Strand. This data was then transmitted wirelessly to the cloud where it can be accessed by the Altoview web portal.”
Utilising the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) and it’s related technology, data when, where and how we want it is now reality.