All Things Open - Monitor Your City with Open Source IoT
MONITOR YOUR CITY WITH
OPEN SOURCE IOT
CTO - MNMX.IO
• A perfect storm of high
pressure and no wind
created life threatening
• Nov 18, 1971, Judge
Sam Pointer invokes
emergency powers of
Clean Air Act, shuts
down 23 smokestack
industries in Bham.
• First use of emergency
powers granted by the
Clean Air Act
• Mission: To reduce air
education and advocacy
• Challenge: Not enough
street level data about
pollution in Birmingham
• Solution: Deploy a
network of air quality
monitors to gather better,
more granular data
A SMART CITY PLATFORM BY
THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
Imagine a city driven by information. A place where decision making is supported by a city-wide sensor network
that provides real time data about the state of things. Imagine the platform that runs the network, built and owned
by the citizens, measuring the things that we think are important and giving us the insights we need to make our
city the best it can be.
This isn’t a new idea, and we aren’t
conquering new territory. Other cities around
the world have successfully deployed varying
types of open IoT networks, platforms and
data policies, building and releasing open
source tools along the way. Barcelona
developed Sentilo as an open IoT platform,
and The Things Network has community run
IoT LoRa infrastructure operating in
hundreds of cities. London makes a trove of
data from their Transport for London IoT
deployment available to all.
We are a diverse and experienced team
of engineers, entrepreneurs, artists,
user experience experts, technology
leaders, financial wizards and
interested community members united
around the goal of using technology
and data to improve the lives of those in
We are creating a community run open
IoT platform for smart cities projects.
We will pair this with a participatory
governance model and open source /
data policy to spread the benefit of our
work as broadly as possible.
Smart cities applications have the
potential to improve health, services
and quality of life in the city, while at the
same time improving efficiency. By
doing it in an open fashion we can
encourage the community to participate
in shaping the future of their city.
WHO ARE WE? WHAT ARE WE
WHY ARE WE DOING
IoT is Getting Easier
Birmingham is an Ideal PilotSmart Cities are Maturing
Cloud Reduces Costs
Open standards and open hardware
platforms are mature and accessible.
Cloud capabilities around IoT, data
management, analytics and
intelligence have driven costs down.
•Practices for building smarter cities are
becoming more widely understood and
A smaller city like Birmingham
presents a unique opportunity to test
concepts in citizen driven IoT.
13POTENTIAL USE CASES
Street level monitoring of environmental
factors affecting quality of life, including
temporary or flexible deployments.
Measure spot occupancy for routing, city
planning and ease of navigation purposes.
Smart light solutions that automatically report
status for maintenance, soil sensors that
monitor watering status.
An open platform provides opportunities for
our citizens to learn about smart cities and
participate in that new part of the economy.
Collect spot data on how people move
through and interact with the city, can we
measure “gross domestic happiness”?
Can we use an open IoT platform to enable
new types of public engagement via
Open source is the foundation for open
access smart cities platforms. Open
hardware and protocols keep barriers low.
Open platforms generate enormous volumes of
data, making this data open empowers the
citizens of a city to explore novel approaches to
problems. By opening smart city data to all, we can
synthesize new insights and share them
with each other.
BEYOND OPEN SOURCE
OPEN PLATFORMS POWERED BY OPEN
OPEN PLATFORMS GENERATE
OPEN DATA LEADS TO OPEN
Many city scale open data platforms are for
“dead data”. Static stuff that is only updated
monthly, quarterly, etc.
How can we bring real time IoT data to city
open data platforms?
City+ + + =
19VERSION ONE / TWO
Base platform: Raspberry Pi Zero W
V1: Custom interface board carrying an Adafruit
V2: Custom AT328PB Interface board
Particle: Sharp GP2Y1010AU0F
Temp / Humidity: DHT22
Light level: Adafruit TSL2561
Sound level: Adafruit 2492
UI: React + Node.js
Connectivity: WiFi only
Power: Mains power (no battery)
Backend: AWS IoT
Low power operation,
extended on battery or
indefinite on solar
Eliminate the requirement
for WiFi, deploy when and
A readily available set of
hardware that we can re-use
to build many applications
We needed a sensor suite
that was more accurate
than the original design
RETHINKING OUR DESIGN
THE LAST MILE
We assumed that we would have WiFi access
and mains power. That turned out to be wrong
in many cases.
How can we make it cheap and easy to get
sensors connected to the Internet, and run
on battery / small solar?
Never doubt that a small group of
thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed, it is the
only thing that ever has.
Everything that carries power will be connected to Internet eventually.
Controlling the network that makes this possible means controlling the world. We believe that
this power should not be restricted to a few people, companies or nations. Instead this should be
distributed over as many people as possible without the possibility to be taken away by anyone.
1 Global Community
• Three levels of coverage
we hope to validate:
• Building level – Covering
a single large building
• Block level – A several
• Neighborhood level –
What does it take to
cover a whole
Provided by TTN
A FEW OF OUR GATEWAY
An open IoT network supports
their nonprofit mission. RMM
members provide valuable
GASP is using the network for
citizen science initiatives,
education, and data gathering.
MAKEbhm is a multi-use
makerspace and is
interested in IoT to gather
data to understand
aspects of their space
IoT is a key component of
smart buildings. The Tower is
exploring these projects and
hosting an open access
Low power capable, reported results of a few microamps
draw when in deep sleep
Multi-bearer, WiFi, BT(LE) and LoRaWAN
Toolchain choices (Arduino lowers barriers to entry)
Readily available dev boards with schematics
Espressif ESP32 + Semtech SX1276
41THE OPEN IOT STACK
• The Things
• TTN Stack
• Apache NiFi
THE END NODE
•Easy for new builders
LoRaWAN in C
•IBM lib ported to
•Familiar UI tools
•Familiar UI tools
Tell us about
• What it is
• Where it is
• What it does
Tell us how it
Get your keys
• TTN keys / EUIs
• Client Certificates
• Other per device
The Things Network
•Easy to integrate with
back end services
•Runs the Things Network
•Use TTN or host your own
•Used when devices do
not connect via TTN
•Serves as an API /
HTTPS message gateway
•Receives messages from TTN /
Mosquitto / HTTPS gateway
•Workflows related to device
•Managing human processes that
arise from device data
48WHAT COMES NEXT?
Put a governance
structure in place
Release a final version of
the sensor framework
Grow The Things
HOW CAN I GET
1. Bring your ideas! What frustrates you
about city life?
2. Support partner organizations
3. Host a TTN Gateway
4. Help us test the network
5. Attend a workshop
6. Spread the word (#SmarterBham)
MONITOR YOUR CITY WITH
OPEN SOURCE IOT
NMCMINN@MNMX.IO / @NTMCMINN
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