An Internet of Things for Amsterdam

A new initiative called The Things Network wants to make every city smart, and Amsterdam is first in line.

The Dutch entrepreneur Wienke Giezeman came up with the idea for The Things Network earlier this summer, when he came across a cheap device that uses LoRaWAN technology. He realized that with only ten such devices, the entire city of Amsterdam could be covered.

Unlike similar initiatives in other cities, this one was entirely crowdsourced, and was put together in only six weeks. 

First boats, with bikes and large ships to follow

A pilot project to prove the system’s viability focuses on Amsterdam’s many boats. It allows boat owners to place a small device in their vessel. If the boat develops a leak and starts taking on water, the device will send a text message to a boat maintenance company that will come along and fix the problem. 

The Things Network also has potential for bike location systems and security installations, and even the Port of Amsterdam has expressed interest in using the network.

Ger Baron, the City of Amsterdam’s CTO, says the network’s strength is its crowdsourced nature. “Amsterdammers invest in it themselves, and the community is the owner of the network,” he told The Next Web. “I do not think this has happened before, and it is interesting to see how traditional telcos will cope with this disruptive new idea of building networks.”