Free, city-wide IoT network launched in Sydney

Allows low-power sensors to send packets of data without a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cellular connection

UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures director Stuart White and Meshed technical director Andrew Maggio (Photo: Terry Clinton, UTS)

UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures director Stuart White and Meshed technical director Andrew Maggio (Photo: Terry Clinton, UTS)

A city-wide Internet of Things network has been launched in Sydney allowing anyone to connect smart sensors to the internet for real-time monitoring.

The low-power, long-range, wide-area network (LPWAN) is available within the Sydney gateway, and enables sensors to send packets of data without needing a cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.

The network is based on open standard technology which uses the 915MHz Industrial Scientific and Medical wireless spectrum band and has its main hub at UTS in Ultimo.

The result of a partnership between the University of Technology Sydney's (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures and Sydney-based Internet of Things integrator, Meshed, the public-access network is being offered for free to entrepreneurs, researchers and students.

“This network will enable us to measure a huge range of things including some we haven’t even thought of,” said Professor Stuart White, director of the institute. “But at the very least we’ll be able to measure the health of the city, air quality, water quality, temperature, humidity, a whole range of environmental factors, energy use, water use.”

The project is partnered with The Things Network, a crowd-sourced scheme which launched a low-power, wide-area network in Amsterdam in 2015. Similar networks exist in New York, Zurich, Madrid, San Francisco, San Paulo, London and Singapore.

“This project has enormous scope for the future,” said Professor White. “There will be opportunity for new innovations, new technologies, new start-ups as well as engaging with organisations who are interested in measuring and monitoring a whole range of environmental parameters.”

Overseas use cases include detecting boat water levels in Amsterdam where the owner is sent an SMS if their boat is filling with rainwater and is at risk of sinking. Cyclists in the city have also attached sensors to their bikes and use an app to locate it and are sent notifications if it is moved.

“Free to use, community IoT networks are democratising the internet of things by enabling communities and industry leaders to obtain real-time data about the things that matter most to them and respond faster,” said Catherine Caruana-McManus, director of strategy and sales at Meshed.

Read more: UPDATED: AARNet confirms international connectivity issues

UTS is home to The Internet of Things Alliance Australia, which brings together more than 100 organisations to help the country realise the benefits of the Internet of Things. The alliance formally launched as an independent not-for-profit organisation last week.

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