What does the Carolan guitar, waste water, petrol tankers and meteorology have in common? 

The LATi Expert Exchange on ‘Connecting to the Internet of Things’ gave an exciting glimpse into the future of IoT, and the diverse and interesting applications that the technology is being used for.

The LATi Expert Exchange, which was held at the Advanced Technology Innovation Centre (ATIC) at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park on 17 March, brought together scientists, engineers and technologists interested in how they can exploit this new technology.

Kicking off the presentations was Professor Steve Benford from the University of Nottingham. Steve introduced a new technology called Artcodes, which allows information about an object to be embedded in digital codes. This was demonstrated with the Carolan guitar featuring Celtic inspired decorative patterns. When scanned using the Artcodes app each decorative pattern will tell a different story; the history of making the guitar, playsets and stories from its ‘owners’, overall creating a digital footprint for the object. Other applications for this technology include wallpaper, homes, cars and even wargaming miniatures.

Three companies followed Steve’s presentation, Martin Croft from Dynamic Flow technologies Ltd, Michael Belcher from Datalink Electronics and Simon Massey, Campbell Scientific Europe. Each gave insight into their recent developments and current thoughts about increasing connectivity between products and systems. Martin Croft and Michael Belcher gave demonstrations of recent technology developments. Martin spoke about the waste water sensing and the technology they have developed, which is in use today by some water companies.  Martin also showed a portable mini Infrared sensor (SCiO Lab) that uses a smartphone app to show present the results ‘molecular fingerprint’. This was an example of where they could go next. Dynamic Flow Technologies Ltd is working with Loughborough University to explore new development opportunities.  Michael spoke intelligent petrol tank refuelling and described how the final product evolved to meet the needs of the end user. He demonstrated wireless sensor nodes and described how the ‘intelligence’ in sensor networks (such as home energy apps) is in the ability to learn from historic data. Simon provided an overview of how Campbell Scientific’s products have evolved to meet end-user requirements. They are seeing an increasing desire from the end-users to provide meaningful data on demand, and this has allowed Campbell Scientific to develop data management software and mobile apps such as LoggerLink to present the data in desired formats when required.  

Overall this expert exchange provided a good platform for individuals in the space to hear what the internet of things means to companies, how it is being used and to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges being faced.

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