Largest of its kind sensor network launched in Norfolk
18 September 2020This week the largest free to use long range wide-area network (LoRaWAN) deployment in the UK was launched here in Norfolk.
Businesses can buy their own sensors which can be connected to the network of ‘gateways’ for free, allowing them to measure anything from weather and rainfall, sound, temperature, visitors passing through an area, or even the number of people sitting at desks in an office. This data is then sent to businesses, which the council will support them in setting up and monitoring.
Before the network, sensors would need to be more complex and store data themselves, sometimes costing upwards of £1,000. But with the Innovation Network in place, cheaper, low power sensors that focus on the gathering of data can cost as little as £10 and be used to transmit data over a long distance. This makes using the technology much more accessible to businesses and organisations in Norfolk.
There are currently 55 gateways located across Norfolk. Once finished, the network will be made up of 270 gateways across Norfolk and Suffolk, with both county councils rolling out new gateway locations based on interest from businesses that wish to make use of it.
Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Cabinet Member for Innovation, Transformation and Performance, said: “It’s so exciting to see the amount of interest we’ve had from businesses this week.
“Our network is already helping kickstart innovation here in Norfolk, with businesses including Ben Burgess using it to help them and their clients save time and money. I want to encourage any businesses that couldn’t make it to the event to watch through the recording to find out a bit more and then get involved to start seeing the benefits of this innovative technology.”
The online event on Tuesday 15 September was attended by more than 150 people and hosted by Leader Andrew Proctor, Cabinet Member for Innovation Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, and Norfolk County Council’s top tech experts.
A full recording of the event can be viewed on the Norfolk County Council YouTube channel.
Industry leaders in Norfolk are already seeing the exciting benefits from using the new innovative network of sensor technology. Agricultural retailer Ben Burgess is measuring water levels to determine when and where crops need to be watered, while the council’s own Highways department use it to make measurements from inside road surfaces to help them determine when to grit during the winter months.
Businesses and organisations interested in using the network should get in touch with the council’s Innovation Network team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The network is being built in partnership with Suffolk County Council and is funded by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.