Launceston will become the first city in Australia to be covered by an Internet of Things (IoT) network. The Hodgman Government has committed $100,000 to fund a city-wide LORA network which is a long range, low power network, similar to Wi-Fi and ideally suited to IoT applications. The project is a collaboration between the University of Tasmania’s Sense-T, Definium Technologies and CSIRO’s Data 61.
The Hon. Michael Ferguson MP, Minister for Information Technology and Innovation announced the commitment at Definium Technologies in Launceston on Thursday 10 November 2016. He said this is an exceptional opportunity to bring together manufacturing capability, application development, community participation, researchers and government.
“There are hundreds of possible applications for this network. It could range from simple things like tracking animals, monitoring bins, detecting water levels, or measuring air quality, to more complex projects using movement sensors and accelerometers in the area of telehealth. I expect we’ll see projects developed and creative ideas in areas we currently can’t even anticipate.
This is a first for Australia and shows the State Government’s commitment to the Smart Cities project and innovation. It’s through projects like this that we’ll see new businesses and new opportunities,” Minister Ferguson said.
Not only will Launceston be the first city in Australia to operate a LORA network, but the devices used to run it will be made locally. The network gateways and sensors will be manufactured by Definium Technologies, a Launceston-based IT company. The project will be run out of the new Enterprize Innovation Hub.
Professor Brigid Heywood Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Tasmania said the announcement is very exciting as it clearly indicates Tasmania’s intention of taking one of the critical next steps in advancing IoT capability and capacity in Tasmania.
“This project builds organically on the work already done by the University through Sense-T and several key partners in creating the facilities to design, prototype and build next generation sensors, capture data and complete the analytics and interpretive feedback to a range of end users.
The University has an agreed Strategic Development Partnership with Definium and has already recruited several key individuals with technical capability across agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and eHealth to advance this work,” said Professor Heywood.
The network will enable a host of innovative new projects involving transport, monitoring, inventory control, health, traffic and sensing all in real time.
Mike Cruse, Chief Executive Officer at Definium said there are many applications for IoT sensing in Smart Cities both inside and outside the city.
“It is important to note that Launceston is only the first step in building a ubiquitous IoT sensor network in Tasmania. The commitment by the Tasmanian state government and the support of the University and CSIRO’s Data 61 has given this project a fantastic starting point.”
Dr Stephen Cahoon, Director of Sense-T said the development of a LORA network will drive further innovation and new opportunities for small and large businesses, initially in Launceston, which can be used as a showcase for what can be achieved by a state-wide network.
“The project will leverage Sense-T’s IoT capabilities to advance current and new technology-focused projects in creating an impact for Tasmania,” Dr Cahon said.
Professor Aruna Seneviratne, Director of Cyber-Physical Systems at CSIRO’s Data61, said that the launch of the new network will provide an unprecedented opportunity for Data61 to collaborate with the University of Tasmania and Sense-T.
“We’ll have a platform to develop and demonstrate new IoT related applications, especially in agriculture and aquaculture, which will leverage of the existing capabilities of LORA networks.”
Work on the pilot project has commenced and expected to be operational early 2017.