LoRaTAS Pilot Project

 

LoRaTAS is to pilot a publicly accessible Long Range Low Power data (based on LoRa technology and potentially the LoRaWAN standard) network on the island of Tasmania

LoRaTAS is to pilot a publicly accessible Long Range Low Power data (based on LoRa technology and potentially the LoRaWAN standard) network on the island of Tasmania.

The LoRaWAN pilot (LoRaTas) is a collaboration of Enterprize Tasmania, the University of Tasmania’s Sense-T, CSIRO’s Data61 and Definium Technologies Pty Ltd.

The objective of the project is to use gateways manufactured by local company, Definium Technologies, distributed throughout the region to new and existing sites providing full network coverage in Launceston and surrounds.  Gateways are also located in key Hobart sites.

Up until recently, the current mobile phone data infrastructure is not appropriate for many sensing applications where power considerations are very stringent, long range transmission is necessary and data costs have to be kept to a minimum. It was not designed with these applications in mind.

LoRa is explained in more detail in other parts of this website and in the resources section, but essentially it is a key enabling technology that allows sensing systems with very stringent power requirements (mainly in very remote areas) to transmit data over long distances cost effectively and reliably.

The Pilot

The deployment of a LoRa/LoRaWAN pilot network essentially can be considered from two complementary perspectives:

  1. The Infrastructure Layer

    This is where the focus is on how the infrastructure is deployed and managed, how it connects back to the cloud, what kind of coverage is possible and how the data is managed.
     
  2. The Application Layer

    This is where the focus is on the data application under consideration, the sensing system being utilised, the data analytics and visualisation implementation and the value proposition of the project.

The project commenced in September 2016 consisting of three stages:

  1. $100K announcement from which the LoRaTAS Pilot Project team was built;
  2. The first deployment of LoRa network (this was not a wide area network- so it was, for example, difficult to track objects); and
  3. The full wide area LoRaWAN network that is open and free for the community to use. Given it is a wide area network, tracking applications and other innovations are now possible.

The pilot project covers three areas:

  1. The city of Launceston that provides the entire city LoRa/ LoRa WAN coverage (both infrastructure and application layers).
  2. A smaller deployment will be established in Hobart to enable innovators and researchers to develop expertise in LoRa/LoRaWAN technology (this will have a primarily infrastructure layer focus).
  3. Finally, a remote location, perhaps in a coastal area, could be considered in the pilot to test deployment. This particular part of the pilot would be strongly application layer with a demonstration of the value added at the location.

Each case will involve establishing a set of LoRa enabled ‘gateway’ nodes in the area so that sensing systems have an access point where they can transmit data directly to the Sense-T/CSIRO sensor cloud. In the first case the objective would be to get as much coverage as possible with a number of key practical projects connected. In the other cases coverage would not be the primary concern, the focus would be on the applications.

 

Pilot Outcomes

The primary purpose of the pilot is to demonstrate the potential of a long range, low power, low cost IoT network with a view to convincing the State of Tasmania to consider making it a state wide initiative. The project strongly aligns with the current Smart-Cities initiative and the country wide innovation agenda. Were cities like Launceston and Hobart to have LoRaWAN coverage it would make a very compelling case for these cities to apply for Smart-City funding to connect a range of sensor and sensor networks to the LoRaWAN IoT network to enable Smart initiatives.

The broader outcomes from the pilot following:

  1. The pilot resources would be used to manufacture Tasmanian IoT equipment (via Definium Technologies). Having manufacturing capability in the emerging IoT space will lead to specialised technical skills employment and potential investment.
  2. The pilot will focus high end embedded software expertise in an area that is experiencing high growth. If Tasmania is to truly benefit from being a place where IoT activity and innovation can happen, it will need this key expertise. These would be high end knowledge economy job opportunities.

The launch on the 8 November 2017 celebrates the third and final stage of the project and provides a freely accessible open innovation network for Launceston and surrounding areas ready for applications to be developed.

This is a unique opportunity for Tasmania to be a ‘Smart State’ in IoT innovation with LoRa/LoRaWAN as the key enabler in conjunction with Tasmanian based infrastructure and application expertise and capabilities drawn from Definium Technologies, Sense-T and CSIRO.

There is also an opportunity to develop Tasmania’s reputation for a place to go to for design, development and manufacturing of the technology through Definium Technologies, and for data analytics and visualisation through the Sense-T/CSIRO Sensor Cloud platform.

The network provides opportunities for local businesses and start-ups to take up internet of things (IoT) technologies to enhance efficiency, and improve business processes, transportation monitoring, inventory control, and healthcare to name a few.

Technical workshops are being held in Launceston and Hobart in November 2017. For more information go to link.

An education program is also being developed called LoRa School Challenge in collaboration with the Department of Education that allows students, groups or schools to come up with ideas to form a successful business or solve a common problem using the LoRaWAN network. Winning schools will receive Internet of Things equipment and ongoing support. For more information go to link.