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Wo King presenting at SWIN launch.

How can both private and public sector organisations in the South West make use of Internet of Things tech? That’s what Byran Wills-Heath (Head of Development, Bluefruit) and Trudy Ward (KTP Business Analyst, Bluefruit) went to find out at the Cornwall launch of the South West Internet of Things Network (SWIN).

The launch event was hosted at Tremough Innovation Centre and sponsored by Acceleration Through Innovation (ATI). It was well attended by potential network hosts and users of SWIN. The launch focused on the aims of the project and how it can support innovation across Cornwall and Devon.

Wo King, SWIN founder and CEO, explained how the Internet of Things (IoT) enables the connection of places and things to the internet. The focus of SWIN is using sensors to collect data, receive data, or both. This data is for anyone to access and help make sense of the world we live in.

Speakers included:

  • Tony Edwards, Software Cornwall
  • Robin Jackson, Head of Agritech at Duchy College
  • Ian Mason, Data Integration Manager at Smartline, University of Exeter
  • Katharine Willis, Head of Smart Cities at Plymouth University
  • Ben Bolton, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Digital Skills Partnership Coordinator at CIoS LEP

SWIN uses Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) gateways, with the LoRaWAN protocol. The gateways connect to a range of sensors. The data collected from these sensors could include:

  • How people interact with their homes and neighbourhoods
  • How farmers and wildlife fare in the countryside
  • What the air quality is like near a busy road

Or any other thing which generates data that a sensor could pick up. SWIN sees the network as having huge data potential for farming, marine, the environment and conservation, communities and healthcare.

Those speaking at the event, explained the potential uses for an IoT network. The room buzzed with ideas and questions. Katharine Willis of the University of Plymouth explained the Smart City model and why it isn’t appropriate for rural communities, as connectivity is a huge issue in places like Cornwall and Devon—not just in terms of access to the internet, but also transport links, healthcare and other essential services. A fantastic way to use an IoT network in Cornwall and Devon would be to understand tech problems faced by the communities in order to find tech solutions: an eco-system approach to solving real problems.

A new network, SWIN are looking for organisations who can host gateways. The gateways are low powered devices, connected to the internet so sensor data can be sent into the Cloud through the gateway. A Crowdfunder appeal will be launched in about six weeks, which will enable interested parties to purchase a full gateway bundle. SWIN aims to support projects and ideas that solve real-world challenges. All data collected through the network will be openly available.

With a host of IoT related projects in development at Bluefruit, we’re really interested to see how SWIN evolves.

Photo provided by SWIN.

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