Crowd-sourced network turns Amsterdam into a smart city

Written on 17 Sep 2015

If you think it takes months of planning, or maybe years, to get a smart city project off the ground, think again. A pioneering project in Amsterdam shows just how quickly a city-wide data network can be introduced.

The Things Network crowdsourced and rolled out a complete Internet of Things network with people who live and work in Amsterdam in just six weeks, using Long Range Wide-Area Network (LoRaWAN) transmitters to broadcast a signal covering the entire city area.

According to the people behind the non-profit project, the new network allows “things” to connect to the internet and transmit data between each other without 3G or WiFi, eliminating the need for WiFi codes and mobile subscriptions. Other features of the technology include low battery usage, long range and low bandwidth.

The Things Network is already providing services, for example:Sensors programmed by developers enable residents who own a boat to receive a text message alert if the vessel develops a leak and starts taking on water. On a return SMS of “clear my boat” a boat maintenance company will come along and remove the water.Cyclists can attach a sensor to their bike, helping them to find it and also get notifications if it is moved.Sensors and detectors at the Port of Amsterdam are using the network to provide real-time management information.

The Things Network plans to raise additional money through crowdfunding in order to add more gateways to the network and expand to more cities. Its ambitions are global in scope: the company said it hopes to “build a global open crowdsourced Internet of Things data network”.

Quote u002D Jeroen Lub

The Internet of Things revolves around machine-to-machine communication and uses data-gathering sensors. It is going to help to make our live ‘smart’ and The Things Network is a prime example how quickly a new initiative can be implemented. Whether all potential legal implications around liabilities, data privacy and regulatory requirements have been taken into account is another Thing!

Jeroen Lub, Partner, OC Amsterdam