Do you know what LoRa is? You don’t? Well, that’s to be expected, as this is not exactly high-profile technology. And yet, the LoRa network is already making our lives in the city, at work, but also at home a whole lot easier. Keep reading to find out how LoRa is already impacting on your world.
The advent of LoRa technology is leading to sweeping changes in the digital world. This is because numerous new applications are being developed that are based on LoRa technology, driven by the fact that this new, energy-efficient network happens to be a perfect vehicle for the Internet of Things (IoT). LoRa WAN, as the network protocol is officially called, stands for “long range wide area network.” This network lets devices communicate with each other without needing WiFi or 4G connectivity.
LoRa works extremely well for devices that do not need to be connected all the time, but merely need to send data now and again, enabling low-power (and consequently low-cost) data sharing. The data shared can be any kind of data, ranging from the location where you parked your car, the location of shipping containers in the port area, to the status of a waste bin in the street, where a sensor can send a message over the LoRa network to notify that the bin needs emptying.
As you can imagine, there are many more possible applications of LoRa technology. More and more IoT companies are jumping on the LoRa bandwagon. LoRa network coverage is growing steadily, allowing an endless number of smart sensors to be hooked up to it.
The LoRa network protocol is already impacting on your day-to-day life, especially when you live in one of the cities that are reinventing themselves as a smart city. Smart cities are cities that use technology to collect data to enable smarter and more efficient use of assets and resources. In the following, we will go into 4 examples of LoRa applications:
1. Anyone who works at Schiphol Airport or needs to be there a lot may already know this. To become the world’s best digital airport, Schiphol has started experimenting with new technologies. One is to use LoRa technology to monitor the status of waste bins and lights. Full bins and empty batteries for lights are detected by a built-in sensor, which notifies facilities management. As a result, they no longer need to send people out to check these things.
2. It is general knowledge that trains are more likely to be delayed when the weather is bad. This is often due to poorly functioning railroad switches. Especially in sub-zero conditions or when there is snow on the tracks, the switch heating has to work overtime. To monitor whether the heating is working correctly, Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail is currently testing sensors that are fitted to the tracks using magnets [page is in Dutch], measuring the temperature of the switches using LoRa technology.
3. Lost your granny? If you had only fitted her out with a LoRa sensor, you could easily locate her using your smartphone or tablet. LoRa basically has a built-in track & trace feature with geolocation that lets you track and trace anything, ranging from mobile toilets at festivals, ships in the port, products in large warehouses or – if you’re woman who loves shoes – that lovely pair of red-sole pumps in your vast shoe closet.
4. And last but not least, there is our state-of-the-art IoT Sound Sensor, SensorTeam‘s multifaceted and sophisticated sound sensor. A number of these IoT sensors are currently already being used successfully as part of two projects in the town of Amstelveen, just south of Amsterdam. The first of these projects involves a youth hangout spot called Zetterij. At this spot, we have linked the IoT Sound Sensor to a professional sound system on which local youngsters can play their music. To prevent local residents in the surrounding area being bothered by the noise, our IoT sensors measure the sound level every few minutes when the sound system is in use. When the youngsters have turned the music up too loud, a stoplight will illuminate to make them aware of this and get them to turn down the volume (to see this system in action, watch the video in this blog). If they fail to turn down the volume, the sound system will automatically shut down for a while down the volume, the sound system will automatically shut down for a while.
The second project involving our IoT Sound Sensors is run in two different neighborhoods in Amstelveen. These IoT sensors monitor the sound pressure and are also able to pinpoint where the noise comes from. This provides instant insight into whether noise pollution comes from a music festival in the park or from a game at the football stadium. Again, when the music is too loud, it will be shown on the included SensorTeam cloud dashboard. What is great about this way of monitoring sound levels in real time is that various sound sensors are operating constantly and authorities can intervene immediately. Plus, the monitoring history is saved in the cloud for future reference. Not only do traditional monitoring methods not offer this option, they are also far less accurate because they use just one single microphone at one location. Sound levels are then monitored in a small area, while the results are used as general values for the rest of the area as well. Our IoT sensors, on the other hand, monitor highly accurately and filter out virtually all ambient noise. Installing them is as easy as 1-2-3. The IoT Sound Sensor is ready to use. Power, WiFi, and 4G are not needed, you can place it anywhere. At your event, building site, or concert, both indoors and outdoors.
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