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Ulster University IoT Network To Power Connected Health Research

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Ulster University is first university to launch a SIGFOX IoT network and the first in Northern Ireland

Ulster University in Belfast has become the first higher education institution in the UK, and the first commercial entity in Northern Ireland, to rollout SIGFOX’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

The equipment has been fitted at the institution’s Jordanstown campus and will power university operations and research projects, most notably in connected health, and benefit the local business community.

SIGFOX’s ultra narrowband technology is one of a number of standards competing to connect the IoT, alongside Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular. However the proprietary SIGFOX works alongside other forms of wireless technology and is valued for its wide coverage and low power consumption.

Ulster University

Ulster University IoT network

“To give you an idea of the power of SIGFOX, it takes only one base station to service an area the size of Belfast,” said Dr Philip Catherwood, from Ulster University’s Engineering Research Institute, which led the installation.

“This emerging technology offers enormous opportunities for innovation and discovery at Ulster University. We will use SIGFOX enabled technology in our future research into wearable devices; remote data analysis and connected health platforms to further improve patient outcomes and transform the global healthcare sector.

“The SIGFOX base station at Ulster University will receive a wide range of information from remote healthcare data such as blood analysis, diabetes and heart rate results, to livestock tracking and chemical detection.

“Ulster University’s engineering students will benefit from the new base station as we plan to deliver dedicated modules on this emerging network. This will guarantee students first-hand experience of this next generation technology, helping them to thrive in careers in the fast-paced technology and engineering sectors.”

Network infrastructure operator Arqiva has used SIGFOX technology in a number of city-wide IOT networks, while the system has been deployed on Antarctica, to help the safety of a Belgian expedition undertaking projects related to climate change and sustainability.

The company secured €150 million (£129.4m) in funding  last year to accelerate the expansion of its global network.

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