Yesterday evening (Thursday the 9th of November) in chilly Seville, excited voices floated out from the open doors of Thinking Company introducing strange words like ‘LoRaWAN’, ‘Arduino’ and ‘IoT community’ to confused passers-by. This was the inaugural meeting of the Seville IoT community, which has been collectively established with the help of companies, students, and interested parties, with the goal of creating a lasting and productive foundation for IoT development for the city.
The main topic of conversation was The Things Network, a publicly owned, built, and managed project started in Amsterdam that has spread across the globe to provide large-scale LoRaWAN connectivity that is free at the point of use. This project has already made headway in the major Spanish cities including Seville’s Andalusian neighbours Malaga and Granada, and once a network is introduced to Seville, Spain will be able to nurture their home-grown talent across the country, and gain a footing in the fast-moving international technology market.
This home-grown talent was on full display in this first IoT meet-up, with a huge amount of interest from all directions: manufacturers, business owners, developers, students and those simply interested in pushing Seville into the IoT sphere, were all keen to make their voices heard. This, of course, led to a lively and productive discussion, with all perspectives combining to envisage a multi-disciplinary grassroots group capable of connecting the city, and sustaining interest well into the future.
With overwhelming optimism and a clear view of the changing world of IoT technology, the members exchanged stories about their struggles to change attitudes during the infancy of the IoT – in particular an international beer manufacturer that was resistant to adapting their vertical-specific supply chain to a more open and collaborative model – and the remaining problems with networks, hardware suppliers and businesses that stem from a misunderstanding of how quickly the IoT is becoming not only viable but essential to continued growth.
The subject of hardware prices, raised by the owner of a sous-vide company who was struggling against the constant back-and-forth along the value chain, created a lot of buzz, after it was revealed that a new Arduino-compatible module has been developed, dropping the price of this multi-purpose microcontroller from around €30 to an astonishing €3. This means that – given the right conditions, funding, and support of The Things Network – Seville and the surrounding area could be covered by next-gen IoT connectivity for approximately €100.
This meetup was an important first step towards connecting Seville with the IoT world, and creating a city-wide development lab to encourage the next generation of innovation in the region. By joining the Things Network initiative, the IoT community in Seville will be able to create a decentralized and bureaucracy-free LoRa network, boosting interest in connected technology, drastically reducing costs for businesses, and creating a self-sustaining loop of advantages to stamp Seville’s authority on the IoT landscape.