IoT Technology

The Department of Civil Engineering is in the process of completely reinventing it's data collection, processing and analysis pipeline associated with research projects, in-line with Engineering 4.0's and Innovation Africa's objectives. On the 9th of October 2020, the dedicated LoRaWAN gateway installed on the roof of Engineering 4.0 saw first light of its continious operation. This gateway provides LoRaWAN connectivity with signal coverage spanning across the entirety of the Hillcrest campus, accelerating the adoption of IoT devices across multiple research disciplines. For more information regarding the installation of the LoRaWAN gateway in partnership with Scoop, please refer to the Internet of Things for Engineering 4.0 – The LoRaWAN Catalyst Powered by Scoop article. The high-level overview illustrates the primary hardware and software components of the implementation, alongside data ingestion from other technologies including SigFox, Wi-Fi, NB-IoT and 5G.

 

To date, the Department has developed and installed the following sensor platforms which are connected to the centralsied Ubidots platform:

  • Weather station located on Hillcrest campus (Weather Underground)
  • Virtual weather station for Pretoria (OpenWeatherMap)
  • sLom, the smart sunflower tracker
  • Soil moisture sensor (Engineering 4.0)
  • CO2 concentrations (Engineering 4.0)
  • Environmental measurements of a tree canopy
  • Greenhouse monitoring (Dept. Soil and Plant Sciences)
  • Door sensors
  • Structural health monitoring in the Eastern cape (strain measurements)
  • Environmental monitoring of different pavement surfacings

 

Work is ongoing to install industrial grade sensors across Engineering 4.0 and the surrounding campus to support multiple research projects. The Innovation Africa IoT data platform (built on Ubidots) is used for the aggregation of all these technologies, combining different data soueces into a single, coherent data repository that is accesible by students and researchers alike. This digital approach introduces a new dimension to the accesability of data, notably for interdisciplinnary research projects. The current data platform is hosted on www.innovationafrica.digital

 

The various dashboards below illustrate the real-time data collected by these numerous devices spread accross the country. For more information, please contact Prof. Wynand Steyn ([email protected]) or André Broekman ([email protected]).

 

Public Dashboard

 

- Author Andre Broekman
Published by André Broekman

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