Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has begun to install a wireless smart sensor network and a number of travel information screens around market towns in the region.
The work is taking place under the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, which is delivering a long range wireless network.
The sensor network project involves the roll out of a long range, low power (LoRa) wireless platform to support internet of things (IoT) devices with a long battery life.
Cambridge based company cThings has been appointed to install the network. It is already available in the Greater Cambridge area and will extended across the county beginning with Ely and St Neots.
It will comprise a public, open access network and a separate private network for local authority services and businesses.
The combined authority said that local and district councils will be working with the Connecting Cambridgeshire team to determine the best way to use the LoRa network effectively and deploy IoT technology to help digitalise services. This will include utilising the network for bin level sensors, monitoring changes in air quality and the installation of water level sensors.
The team also plans to work with entrepreneurs and local organisations to help them understand the opportunities and support interested companies with utilising IoT within their businesses.
The travel information screens follow in the footsteps of the original SmartPanel screens, which have already been trialled in the foyers of public buildings and large companies in and around Cambridge city since 2018. They can be customised to each location to show live bus and train times, road traffic maps and weather reports.
Screens have already been installed in libraries at Chatteris, Huntingdon, March, Ramsey, St Ives and Whittlesey, the Priory Centre in St Neots and New Shire Hall in Alconbury, and others will be added in Ely, Wisbech and Soham.
Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “Thanks to funding from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Connecting Cambridgeshire can now extend the availability of not only smart travel information screens but also enable this innovative sensor network to be deployed countywide. The LoRa network will ultimately help the local economy grow and create better places to live and work.
“Our investment will support services, businesses and people by encouraging local communities and entrepreneurs to trial and demonstrate their ideas and will be used to benefit residents with information regarding public transport, parking, air quality and flood alerts among many other services in the towns where they live and work.”
Image from iStock, Alexey Brin