The SMART Infrastructure Facility has announced a partnership between its Digital Living Lab and Thinxtra, a company deploying a wireless Internet of Things (IoT) network across Australia. Their Sigfox technology, established in France in 2009, currently operates networks in 36 countries around the world.

The IoT connects large numbers of low-energy sensors – such as water meters, parking sensors or air quality probes – to real-time applications enabling the rise of smart cities.

The partnership will see Thinxtra providing IoT development kits to the SMART IoT Hub – a research space opened to students, researchers, start-ups and local schools – and installing a Sigfox base station on campus. ‘The partnership is very simple,’ Renald Gallis, vice-president of markets and eco-systems at Thinxtra, said.

‘We provide free connectivity and free development kits in exchange for access to the rooftop for a base station,’ he said.

‘There are already some companies within the university that are developing applications using Sigfox and this will give teachers, students and researchers the support that they need, at no cost to the university.’

SMART director, Professor Pascal Perez, says the agreement is an important advance for the regional Digital Living Lab, launched earlier this year.

‘This will enable local developers to test the inter-operability of their innovations with different radio communication protocols, from our existing free-to-air network that has attracted a large amount of interest in the community, to future technologies that will be deployed in a near future’ he said.

‘New projects using the Digital Living Lab are constantly in development, and anything that promotes the widest possible adoption of smart cities technology, that will make our cities more liveable and more productive, has got to be excellent news for the university and for the region.’