Orange puts IoT shoulders under climate research


Orange brings data and climate together. The telecom company has made its innovative network tools available to Flemish schools and scientists to enhance local weather research. Chris Dubois of Orange explains.

To make increasingly accurate weather forecasts, the importance of local measurements is growing. That is why 70 weather stations capture the meteorological conditions in Flemish areas for which, until recently, no data were available. For the automatic connectivity of the various stations, the researchers use the Rapid Development Kit and Orange's NB-IoT (NarrowBand-Internet of Things) network.


Cloud platform

"We provide hardware, connectivity and a cloud environment," says IoT expert Chris Dubois of Orange. "By using the Rapid Development Kit in a weather station, a working prototype can handle measurements in as little as half an hour. The weather stations measure temperature, relative humidity, wind and precipitation. The Rapid Development Kit reads the data from the sensors and sends the data to the cloud platform via NB-IoT. From there, the data are transmitted swiftly to other IT systems. To develop the Rapid Development Kit and visualise the data on online software, we entered into a partnership with platform developer AllThingsTalk."


Source of knowledge

The project is an important source of knowledge for various parties. "For the scientists in this study first and foremost," says Chris Dubois. "They can rely on precise data of the interaction between what happens on land and above it. In this way, the project contributes to a better understanding of the urban heat island effect. A phenomenon whereby the temperature in urban areas is, on average, higher than in surrounding rural areas. This knowledge is important because heat stress leads to more victims than any other meteorological phenomenon. The Internet of Things enables us to measure and process all those data quickly in an automated way."


Social importance

"Of course, social importance also plays a major role," Chris Dubois believes. "Thanks to the simple hardware, connectivity and software, it's easy to use the entire system in schools. At the same time, it's a way of stimulating young people's interest in technology. For Orange, the project is also important because it allows us to show that IoT is generally applicable," says Chris Dubois, who's considering numerous similar projects in future. 

As the price of hardware continues to fall and the number of rapid development tools available in the cloud increases, as well as cloud storage, I think we will see more and more projects such as this. This will allow us to understand our impact on the climate even better and turn that impact into a sustainable economy," he concludes.


Discover the scope of the Rapid Development Kit

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