The goal of The Things Network is to develop a global, open source, non-profit network for the Internet of Things (IoT) that everyone can use free of charge. In addition, everyone can help to expand the network by placing a gateway of their own. LCL has therefore decided to place IoT antennas on its data centers in Antwerp, Diegem and Aalst, increasing the range of the network. The Internet of Things connects smart devices with the internet to enable them to exchange data with applications, and is used for self-driving vehicles and smart thermostats, among other things. It is also being used increasingly in industrial and production environments to monitor business-critical processes.
The technology that connects the smart devices to the internet is LoRaWAN. It allows devices to connect to the internet without the need for WiFi, 3G or Bluetooth technology. LoRaWAN is an open standard that does not use much battery power, and has a wide range and low bandwidth. The Things Network joins IoT networks in a collaborative approach, with the aim of building a robust, secure infrastructure that is open to all.
The Multimedia Technology department of Karel de Grote University College (KdG) is responsible for placing and maintaining the gateways on LCL's three data centers. “LCL is committed to supporting the network and encouraging others to do the same”
, said Lorenz Adriaensen, researcher and lecturer in Multimedia Technology at KdG and founder of The Things Network's community in Antwerp. “We also try to identify other opportunities for collaboration, such as possibilities for internship projects at LCL for our students.”
KdG's goal is to install as many antennas as possible with the aim of expanding the IoT community, conducting research and allowing students to experiment with the new technology.
The Internet of Things is expanding constantly. “We are evolving into an increasingly connected society”,
said Laurens van Reijen, LCL's Managing Director. “The Internet of Things - like our data centers - is an ecosystem. It is an interactive network in which a huge amount of data is exchanged, and this has to be stored somewhere. Constantly available connectivity is therefore crucial, otherwise critical business applications could fail, and that would have far-reaching consequences.”
For more information about The Things Network, go to: https://www.thethingsnetwork.org/