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2020-06-03

IoT Meetup June 2020 / Report & Video

The June IoT Meetup was attended by over 40 people from the Northern region of the UK, looking for insights into IoT applications and impacts. The webinar was co-hosted, as usual, by Pitch-In Project and sponsored by Newcastle University and https://www.goto50.ai. The event featured two speakers, Kelsie McMillin, Partnership Marketing Manager – Strategic Programs at Digi-Key (https://www.digikey.co.uk) and Jen Fenner, Co-founder and Managing Director of DefProc (https://www.defproc.co.uk). The speakers presented IoT applications aimed at tackling the needs and addressing the challenges of their end-users in the business and social sectors.

Kelsie McMillin provided insight into the DK IoT Studio programming software offered by Digi-Key to help make use of IoT devices. Headquartered in Minnesota, USA, Digi-Key is an international distributor, renowned for fast and reliable delivery of electronic components across 26 locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. The company is a one-stop-shop for design engineers, offering breadth and variety of products in stock, production and supply chain management services, customer assistance, and software programming. Digi-Key facilitates innovation by providing services and solutions at the stages from prototyping through production. DK IoT Studio is designed to address the challenges with the connection and management of devices in the network for improving performance and getting meaningful data insights. The software helps create, deploy, and manage a complete embedded-to-cloud IoT solution in the fastest and simplest way without in-depth programming knowledge and skills. The simplicity is ensured by operating three components – i.e. online dashboard, a downloadable application (IoT Agent) and a mobile app. Instead of developing codes, the dashboard makes it possible to design a task for a selected device by arranging visual representations of c-codes (i.e. elements) on the dashboard. That visualises the data flow, data output and links it with the cloud. DK IoT Studio lists an infinite number of devices. They are not limited to particular manufacturers or suppliers, which gives more opportunities and a wider utility for customers.

The second presentation by Jen Fenner was about the Push to Talk project developed by DefProc Laboratory to solve a social problem. Located in Liverpool, DefProc represents a team of creators, designers and engineers, who can convert ideas into reality by conceptualising, designing, prototyping, building and testing IoT-related products and services. The team has been working on a range of solutions around cultural events (e.g. building an immersive exhibition), environmental issues (i.e. measuring river levels with sensors), social needs (i.e. providing public LoRaWAN-to-internet access in Liverpool) and commercial projects. Push to Talk was initiated to respond to the social challenge that has emerged as the number of people in the UK feeling lonely and isolated has reached 9m. Its idea is to enable the interaction of people within the Push to Talk network by a simple click of a button. People need to download the app, enabling calls, register with the network and push on the button in the app whenever they feel lonely. Technically, free and unlimited connectivity of people in the network is enabled by a Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) network, which makes it possible to send data to the internet without Bluetooth, mobile data, Wi-Fi or broadband connectivity. That ensures wide access to the app irrespective of the socio-economic status of households. To ensure security, the registration in the app is referral-based. With the COVID 19 outbreak and unprecedented levels of loneliness and isolation faced by communities, one can feel how important such an application can be for the wellbeing of society.

To learn more about the application and impacts that AI and IoT have in social, business and other spheres of life, follow the schedule of events here at the IoT North meetup web site: https://iotnorth.uk/

The webinars are sponsored by Newcastle University’s IoT ecosystem management and facilitation PitchIn project. For more information about the project and free support for IoT related companies please visit: https://ebusiness.ncl.ac.uk/projects/pitchin-iot-ecosystem/index.php

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