The largest free to use long range wide-area network (LoRaWAN) deployment in the UK has been launched. The Norfolk and Suffolk Innovation Network is funded by New Anglia LEP's Growth Deal with Government. 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. The network is being built in collaboration with Suffolk County Council. 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. 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 [email protected]
A mobile robot which promises to revolutionise the harvesting of fruit and other produce is being developed with the support of funding from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.