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Gartness harnesses IoT on walking trail to support local economy


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Gartness has become one of the first smart villages in Scotland with the deployment of a new internet of things (IoT) infrastructure to support tourism and development in the local community.

A series of IoT enabled sensors has been installed to provide the community with near real time data on the number of walkers heading towards Gartness and nearby Drymen via the West Highland Way, helping local businesses to monitor the demand for their services.

The project has been backed by the Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER programme, aimed at helping rural communities to create employment opportunities and attract future investment.

It is also supported by CENSIS – Scotland’s centre of excellence for sensing, imaging systems and IoT technologies – Stirling Council, Gartness Community Group and North (formerly Boston Networks).

The IoT system makes use of North’s IoT Scotland network, powered by LoRaWAN (long range, wide area network) technology. It makes it possible to count the number of footsteps on the West Highland Way walking trail, which attracts around 120,000 people per year.

Estimating demand

Data from the sensors should help accommodation providers and hospitality businesses estimate the demand for campsites, bed and breakfast rooms, and food and drunk venues.

The network also includes an IoT connected weather station, hosted at Drymen primary school, and water level sensors deployed on the nearby Endrick Water, which helps local communities to monitor flood risks.

Scotland’s Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “I am pleased to see sensor technologies being used in such a practical application, supporting local community regeneration. Digital connectivity is critical to Scotland’s economic and social recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic and for a rural village like Gartness, which depends on tourism, the use of sensor technology is delivering good results.

“By providing a lifeline to local businesses alongside improving community resilience to events outwith their control, IoT has offered a cost effective and future proofed solution and one that will continue to benefit the community for years to come.”

Douglas Johnston, chair of Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER, said it is hoped the project will encourage other remote communities to make use of IoT technologies.

The project was born from a FutureTech seminar held by CENSIS to explore the use of IoT in tourism. The workshop was part of a wider programme of business support commissioned by the Scottish Government and delivered by CENSIS to explore and support the use of IoT in Scotland’s key sectors.

Image from CENSIS


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