April 24, 2024

Jisc and Sigfox seek partners to show how connecting small things makes a big difference

Author: rosie.niven@jisc.ac.uk
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Universities and colleges wanting to use the Internet of Things (IoT) will get affordable access to this technology under a collaboration between Jisc and Sigfox network operator WND UK. 

WND UK, which operates Sigfox’s low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology in the UK and Latin America, is collaborating with Jisc to enable universities and colleges to run IoT technology on a dedicated network with low set-up costs.

WND UK is seeking universities and colleges across the UK to partner with Sigfox by agreeing to install base stations on their campus. It has offered to provide free kit to interested institutions.

Sigfox’s network allows connected devices such as sensors and vehicle equipment to communicate small amounts of data over large distances using tiny amounts of power. Because of their low power consumption, these remote sensors can run for many years on a single battery and are even safer and more secure than standard wireless networks.

Creating digitally intuitive campuses

IoT enables new, disruptive services and solutions in areas such as asset tracking, the smart environment and smart cities. Some universities already use IoT in libraries and others are exploring how this could be adopted across their estates. The technology would provide a modern experience that responds to student interactions to help make campuses more digitally intuitive – an integral part of Jisc’s education 4.0 vision to transform education through advanced technologies.

Some 90% of the UK’s population and 56% of its area can currently access the Sigfox network through more than 1,800 base stations. Current partners already include a number of universities as well as E.ON, Thames Water and local authorities. 

WND UK will provide 100 free Sigfox subscriptions per year, per approved site, for the duration of  agreements with universities and colleges. Any interested in taking part should contact WND UK directly to check coverage and make arrangements for installation.

The collaboration follows an agreement earlier this year with The Things Network (TTN), provider of another global network for IoT devices, which allowed its community network server to run on the Janet Network infrastructure.

Sue Attewell, Jisc’s head of change – research and development, said:

“We want to see a campus experience that meets students’ needs and prepares them for the fourth industrial revolution and beyond.

“Many of our members including Cambridge University, South West College, Newcastle University, Edinburgh College and The Open University are already using IoT in innovative ways.

“We hope by working with Sigfox we can encourage more universities to take on the opportunity to easily use this emerging technology to transform teaching, learning and the physical campus experience.”

Tim Harris, chief executive of WND UK, said:

“There are so many innovative ideas about how Internet of Things technologies could be used, and we think universities and colleges could help to unlock some of these.

“We hope that by offering the opportunity to access Sigfox equipment and infrastructure at a low cost through Jisc, staff and students will be inspired to use this technology to improve the university experience.”

To express an interest in this project, please email WND UK (network-uk@wndgroup.io).

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