IoT in the Netherlands: how it is organized and used18 January 2017
Last year, the Netherlands became the first country in the world that created a single national network for IoT devices. This achievement wasn’t completely unnoticed: only the lazy haven’t spoke about a new era, caused by the Internet of Things. Yet its significance still remains beyond the understanding of many people. Most of them still haven’t realized what has happened and what benefits the Dutch got as the result of the latest innovations. And what's the main, it is unclear, why the others should also follow the example of a small yet progressive country of tulips.
What actually happened in the Netherlands
The country has launched a new communication standard - LoRa (Low Range). From the name it is clear that such a standard operates only in the low frequency range, thus providing a better coverage range, and do not requiring the connection of a large number of base stations for its service. In other words, LoRa provides an excellent communication quality in any place with minimum efforts. As the saying goes, fast, reliable and convenient.
But do not confuse LoRa with mobile communication. Although their operation principles are similar, it is impossible to connect a SIM-card to the new network and call throughout the world. It is designed for other purposes. Its mission is to provide communication and data transferring between the Internet of Things devices. It combines the IoT technologies into common systems, programming them to perform a variety of functions, including quite complex and large-scale ones. And it's not just about household systems such as smart home for example, but also the city systems. The first such projects are already implemented in the Netherlands.
How LoRa is used
1. Automatic monitoring of water level in the channels. Previously, it was done by radio sensors that provided information about the water level at a specific time. Sensors connected to the LoRa network provide this information continuously in real time mode. It improves accuracy in flood gate control and prevents flooding of the buildings located in risk zones.
2. Smart luggage logistics at the airport. Schiphol is a large airport, which is visited by thousands of people daily. The path covered by their luggage when moving from terminal to plane and vice versa is also long and rather complicated. The Internet of Things technologies simplify the process and at the same time help to track lost luggage and check its contents more effectively. Watch how it works in the video below.
3. Waste disposal control. The Dutch company Suez is engaged in processing of waste materials, and by means of the Internet of Things has taken the process to a new level. It has equipped containers for different types of waste with LoRa sensors, which monitor the whole process, starting from waste transportation to the disposal process itself. Thus, it is possible to monitor the quality of utilization procedures and their execution by the companies more effectively.
4. Bike anti-theft system. In the Netherlands, this form of transport is very popular. But the vehicles are stolen regularly as well. The telecom company KPN (initiator of LoRa network implementation in the country) tried to solve this problem with the help of smart locks supporting the new standard. It can be opened / locked only via a special mobile application. The program also allows people to rent a bike just in one click and give it back in the same way, after leaving it at any special parking.
These are just several examples of possibilities provided by the implementation of a common Internet of Things network LoRa. Of course, they are far from the significant technologies, which will appear after the implementation of 5G type of connection that is more efficient and faster in comparison with the LoRa. But the introduction of the communication of the fifth generation is vague, while Low Range standard is available now. And as exemplified by the Netherlands, the benefits of its application are really tangible.