IoT Research and Innovation service

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 9 Jul 2019 | 13:51

Guest blogger Simon Chapple introduces the University of Edinburgh's IoT Research and Innovation Service.

Most people will have heard of the Internet of Things (IoT). It is a hot topic in technology, business and the mainstream news, projected as it is to underpin a future trillion-dollar market at least as large as, and by some estimations even greater than, the cloud-based computing services industry. We define IoT as a network of dedicated physical objects that contain embedded technology to sense and interact with the external environment, and that can connect and exchange data.

At the University of Edinburgh we have been developing an IoT Research and Innovation Service as part of our Data Driven Innovation initiative's Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF). The IoT Service provides sensor-to-insight consultancy expertise for research and innovation projects together with a range of IoT testbed facilities, including our own LoRaWAN Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) deployed across Edinburgh for long range device communications and a connected real-time data visualisation and analytics platform. Our LoRaWAN network was first established in 2015 and now annually processes millions of messages. It can receive messages from devices located more than 16km away, eg across the Firth of Forth, with minimal amount of transmission energy required.

During 2020, we will be expanding our LoRaWAN network beyond Edinburgh to encompass the whole of the South East Scotland City Deal region, which incorporates Fife, the Scottish Borders and the Lothians. Alongside the network rollout, we will be deploying multi-sensor IoT devices at scale across 7,700km2, totalling some 10,000 devices and 100,000 sensing elements, including for the capture of a unique real-time environmental dataset that will be used for schools’ education, academic research, public services, and to spawn future innovation and entrepreneurship.

IoT sits alongside robotics, AI and automation as one of the cornerstones of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. The combination of all of these capabilities into the one device will lead to the creation of autonomous Intelligent Connected Things (ICoT). On 5 December 2019, the IoT Service will hold our inaugural ICoT Conference, at which we will discuss the essential role of ethics and privacy in ICoT and showcase many new examples of ICoT-based solutions developed within education and from innovation projects across the region. Further event and registration information will be published soon.

We are currently engaged in a wide variety of projects across many sectors (transport, health, tourism, education, ecology, fintech), utilising various sensor technologies (audio, infra-red, accelerometers) and multi-modal communications technologies (Wi-Fi, BLE, LoRa, 5G). Applications include monitoring physical activity/interaction, wildlife and biodiversity, building occupancy and energy consumption, and also immersive telepresence applications.

If you are interested in finding out more about the IoT service and how it could help your company or organisation with a new IoT project, please get in touch:


Simon Chapple, Internet of Things Service
Head of Data Technology ISG, University of Edinburgh

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