The Netherlands: the first country with a nation-wide Internet of Things network

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Since July 2016 the new LoRa network of KPN is available everywhere in the Netherlands. With this network, it is the first country in the world with a country-wide LoRa network for Internet of Things applications. The process of launching this network took around eight months. Before discussing the added value this network provide to companies, lets first take a closer look to what the LoRa network exactly is.

The LoRa network is a telecommunication network suitable for long-distance communication with low power. The advantages of LoRa above other networks (e.g. 3G and 5G) are that it has a wider range and consumes less power. This results in a significant cost reduction in monitoring large objects, for example the status of the Afsluitdijk. With this network, KPN provide companies with an excellent infrastructure to launch Internet of Things applications. Devices can get connected to each other easily. For companies it would be unfeasible to set-up such a network themselves.

triangulationCurrently, KPN already contracted 1.5 million devices. The expectation is that this amount of devices will increase rapidly, due to its nation-wide availability. KPN is still working on improving the network, driven by requests from companies. One of the functionalities that will be added to the network, is the localization functionality. This is a feature that is frequently asked for. Currently localization is one of the main applications of the Internet of Things. The localization functionality is done using the triangulation method. This is a method in which the data of three transmission towers is combined, to determine the exact location of certain devices (or objects). The image alongside represents this method. At this moment localization is already possible, but the accuracy is not precise enough for the applications interesting for companies (i.e. 25 meters). An example of such applications is tracking luggage during a flight. KPN is testing this at Schiphol as we speak.

The Netherlands, a knowledge based economy, strengthening its innovative image with the LoRa network. KPN is already talking with foreign telecom providers, to extend the network to other European countries. This will make Internet of Things opportunities for companies even bigger. But for now, as many times before, the Netherlands proves themselves a precursor in the field of innovation.

 

Sources used throughout the article:
https://www.corporate.kpn.com
https://www.lora-alliance.org/what-is-lora/technology
https://www.link-labs.com/lora-localization/
http://www.doctordisruption.com/design/design-methods-19-triangulation/ (image)

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The elderly population in a fast growing digital world

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Digital capabilities are marked  essential for firms in order to stay alive in current society. This is not only applicable to firms, but also to human beings. Currently it is already hard for people that do not use digital technologies to stay “up to date”. This while the biggest technological growth is yet to come. Banking, public transport and governmental services are transforming from face-to-face services to do it yourself online.

The first Personal Computers (PC’s) were launched around 1980, the Internet as recently as 1996 (for private users). People born far before this era, are having trouble with the pace of the developments. New generations are learning digital skills already in primary school. As example we can look at the schools in Finland. Finnish students will no longer be taught handwriting at school, with typing lessons taking its place. “Fluent typing skills are an important national competence. The switch will be a major cultural change, but typing is more relevant to everyday life,” says Minna Harmanen from the National Board of Education. In contrast to the new generations, the older generations never had any form of educations on digital subjects. Given the rapid growth of the elderly in our population as well as the potential the Internet holds for them, this is something worth consideration (Eastman & Iyer, 2004).

What would be good for this group of people, is to set-up a program to provide them with the necessary digital skills. The government could cooperate with healthcare facilities and organizations, to reach out to elderly people. This seems to be a large expense, but it will decrease costs in the future as well. Also it will help to improve vitality of elderly people, giving them the feeling they can still contribute to society. With the growing human life expectancy in mind, this would be a good prospect for older generations.

 

References
Eastman, J. & Iyer, R. (2004). The elderly’s uses and attitudes towards the Internet. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 21 Iss: 3, pp.208 – 220
Griffiths, S. (2016). Virtual reality training can stop the elderly from taking a tumble. Available online at : http://www.wired.co.uk/article/falling-over-vr [Last viewed on December 4th 2016)

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