How could you connect your devices to the Internet without WiFi or 3G? In an age of increasingly smart objects that talk to one another and have the capacity to collect all sorts of data, from your thermostat to your car, there are numerous possibilities for harnessing this information towards things like energy efficiency, saving money and better understanding user needs.
A project called The Things Network (TTN) aims to develop a network that makes it possible for Internet of Things enabled devices to connect and talk to one another without a direct connection to the Internet. TTN uses a long range and low power radio frequency called LoRaWAN. The network is made up of a series of nodes. One node can communicate for up to 15 kilometers for as long as three years on a single battery, which makes the network very efficient. It’s also cheaper to build than traditional broadband networks since the hardware is lower in cost.
Makers and hackers around the world are getting together in their communities to develop local TTNs.
In San Diego, CA, Travis Good is leading one such group. To date they’ve hosted a workshop at the La Jolla Library where they were able to get a version of the network up and running. They were even able to collect temperature and barometric pressure data through the nodes that they set up. In collaboration with the City of San Diego, Travis will gain access to 34 public library roofs, where makers, hackers and innovators will be able to use the infrastructure of their city as a lab. There are lots of different ways you could use the network- environmental monitoring and building out the infrastructure for a smart city are several of these. Moving forward, the network could be used as a platform for environmental impact hackathons hosted by the city too.