Norfolk County Council successfully tests LoRaWAN care tech

30th December 2022

Norfolk County Council is entering phase two of an assistive technologies project that will make use of the LoRaWAN networking protocol.

The Norfolk Assistive Technology Application for Living Independently (NATALI) project has completed a proof of concept to demonstrate that smart sensors placed in residents’ properties would work.

In phase one NATALI connected sensors to the LoRaWAN software communications protocol and systems architecture, placing assistive technology care in Norfolk onto the Internet of Things (IoT).

“During phase two, we will link sensors to a third party IoT platform,” said Chris Metcalf, county manager – assistive technology at Norfolk. If successful, phase two will enable the local authority to source numerous sensor solutions and link them to a secure platform, allowing trusted carers to access wellbeing data via an online web portal or app on their smartphone.

LoRaWAN uses low power battery sensors to connect to local or national internet networks. It is of importance to assistive technology as by 2025 the public switched telephone network (PTSN) will be switched off by Openreach, following which all UK networks will use the internet protocol (IP). The switch-off will impact electronic point of sales (EPOS) machines, remote door entry systems, CCTV and, of course, landlines.

The NATALI project, alongside the digital switchover of community alarm telecare services, is helping the council prepare for the PTSN switch off. “We can send small packets of data over the LoRaWAN network,” Metcalf said the project proved.

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