IoT and LoRaWAN
Dr Thomas Lewis
31 October 2019
On Friday 18th October, a few of the lecturers from METaL attended an intriguing event entitled “What is LoRaWAN and the Internet of Things?” organised by Business Wales. And what an interesting talk it was!
The IoT, or Internet of Things, is a rapidly emerging technology that is becoming integrated into the lives of our modern world. It is based upon low-cost, low-maintenance, simple wireless devices that can communicate with one another, typically as a network, and can feed back to a central hub (e.g. the ‘cloud’) to provide information on a myriad of things. The possibilities are practically endless!
Ultimately, the IoT is all about creating a connected world through a trifecta of networks, devices, and data.
This can include reporting the impact on air quality within a city centre location throughout various parts of the day, through to notifying a land owner that their farm gate has been left open by passers-by. The sensors for these devices are advancing every day (smartphones are a great example!) and their use can provide fantastic capability for improving business intelligence, whether that’s by reducing the downtime on a component or saving costs invested on inspections, all within an industrial environment.
The IoT can communicate through various wireless channels, and we’re probably familiar with a few of these. This includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular (i.e. 2G/3G/4G/5G), and NFC. Another variant of this form of wireless communication is LoRaWAN. It is particularly good for low-power, low-data rate applications and can offer ranges of up to 15 km for data transfer! This is ideal for industry as other wireless protocols are more restricted in terms of range. Expect to see this type of technology more and more for the years to come, as data-driven systems can empower the end-user with plenty of information to monitor and improve processes – from artisanal cheesemaking up to specialised large scale steelmaking. And the beauty of this platform is that it is accessible, whether to a solopreneur, SME, or a multinational conglomerate organisation alike.
Welcome to Industry 4.0 – the future of manufacturing has arrived.
The METaL project offers a range of courses encompassing industrial processes ripe for IoT and Industry 4.0 integration. We have a team of highly skilled specialists across a broad range of topics, so keep an eye out for the latest courses we offer on our website and please feel free to suggest others that you want!