As new technologies emerge in the light of Industry 4.0, I find myself becoming mind blown by the extraordinary talent of specialists the UK has to offer and even more so when it’s our own Eagle Lab residents who are leading the way…
If you’re like me, when somebody mentions Internet of Things (IoT), they might be on the receiving end of a perplexed look on your face. The truth is that Internet of Things is everywhere and though we may not all be experts in the subject, understanding the technology will bring you one step closer to maybe helping solve a problem for your home, the area you live in, saving money or time and so much more!
I was very lucky to be able to talk to Bournemouth Eagle Lab resident Doug Mahy about his career within Internet of Things and help demystify how and why it is has become, and continues to grow to be, one of the most diverse markets in the world.
His background begins as an apprentice in Post Office telecommunications, setting up the first digital TV channel in the UK, being responsible for the architecture of the first video on demand platform - what the world now knows as TiVo AND founder of the 8th fastest growing tech company in the country, Go Henry. Doug is now the Director of Net Sensors Ltd, an electronic product development company that specialises in the design and manufacture of IoT and LPWAN based products. Net Sensors’ main goal is to help companies develop Internet of Things products within their business and enable them to fulfil their business ambitions - whether this be start-up or a FTSE 100 company. Doug explains how being an expert in IoT doesn’t mean you then have to be an expert in the problem that needs solving - collaborating and educating businesses to incorporate IoT within their product design and development teams will extend capabilities of businesses and in turn create an unprecedented growth than ever possible before.
"But what is Internet of Things?" I hear you ask!
"Internet of Things are things that are not people, for example: machines, using the internet and other communication technologies to talk to each other and do things for us"
Rachel Garnett, Matthew Butler, Jade Evans and Marios Angelopoulos from Bournemouth university and Bournemouth Borough Council worked with Doug after a landslip happened on the East Cliff of the Bournemouth coast line in 2016. Deploying accelerometers, soil sensors and humidity sensors on the East cliff found that the cliffs were still geologically active (still moving). The University is now able to monitor the movement of the cliffs on a 15-minute cycle from the information that the sensors are providing. Not only is this a pioneering piece of work but unlocks the exciting prospect of predicting and preventing landslips in other places, using the data curated with the new technology.
Another use of IoT that is being currently tested with a UK borough council could change the future of the way we find and pay for parking spaces. They have found that permit holders in residential areas were having problems with non-permit holders parking in their spaces and missing renewals of their own permits. CPZs (Controlled Parking Zones) will deliver parking spaces which will detect whether a car is parked there and determine whether it has a valid permit via Bluetooth tags that can be placed on the bottom of the car. This could see the start of public car parks bringing in the same concept, using a Bluetooth tag to track when you have entered and left a car park - saving the need for parking officers, increasing efficiency and allowing automatic charging to be made, avoiding needing change for car parking machines or relying on parking apps.
To understand the true scaling of IoT, starting in Amsterdam three years ago, a small business “The Things Network” set up the first IoT network with 8 gateways. 3 years later it has grown to 4,861 gateways across 96 countries with 50,555 members and counting with over 31,498 different applications. Whether you’re a start-up or a corporate, right now is the time to be thinking about Internet of Things within your business.