More Cities, More Coverage
The open Internet or Things network that started in in the month of August last year is now present in over 100 cities around the world. Inspired by the idea of an open network that can connect all sorts of things (hardware), groups in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Belgium now have an active network ready to use.
The Things Network (TTN) works with the relatively new technology called LoRaWAN. LoRaWAN is a low power, long range and low bandwidth networking solution that is ideal for providing a city-wide coverage network. At the heart of LoRaWAN is a tiny chip made by Semtech which is capable of bi-directional data rate between 0.3 and 50 kbps. You can think of LoRaWAN as the network needed for the big "I" Internet of Things (IoT). It is similar to what 3G/4G is to cellular communications.
After covering the city of Amsterdam there has been an amazing response from the community. We got featured on ProductHunt followed by a successful Kickstarter campaign. The Things Network was among the top 2% of all successful projects and in the top 0.9% of all Kickstarter projects ever. Recently, at SXSW 2016 we showed our imminent global presence by the announcement of our 100th community.
Let's take one of the use cases of the LoRaWAN technology and understand the mechanism in simple terms. One of the biggest problems in the major cities around the world is air pollution. Over a million people have died in Asia Pacific due to this major environmental issue. Several communities, among others in Athens and Bhubaneswar are working on the deployment of smart sensors around the area which can monitor the quality of air and pollution levels.
From air pollution monitoring to smart parking solutions, the applications of this technology are massive and can be applied in many fields. Imagine living in a neighborhood that notifies you when a parking spot is free. Imagine garbage cans and dumpster that alert sanitation crews when they are nearing capacity instead of just overflowing to the sidewalks. Cities so smart that they will help you locate your lost key or umbrella, even while travelling to another city. Thats the future The Things Network is working on - and all this without cumbersome WiFi passwords, mobile subscriptions, and zero setup costs.
After covering various cities in Europe and North America, the focus is now on Asia Pacific region where many communities with interesting use cases are beginning to mark their presence. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo and Bhubaneswar have already started working on rolling out the network and creating applications on top of that. However we are yet to see initiations in China, Taiwan, Malaysia and other South East Asian countries.
Here is a list of the active communities in the Asia Pacific region:
Build it and they will come, echoes the voice around the world as LoRaWAN networks take root in Europe, North America and now finally gaining traction in Asia. This week we are excited to present The Things Network at the IoT Asia conference in Singapore. [Link] Our next big challenge is how to keep the project sustainable and maintain the growth in the same way.