Project Date: 2014
Love-Hz partnered with Nominet to deploy Adaptrum’s TV White Space solution for connecting water level sensors as part of an early-warning flood system.
A solution that provides affordable covearge to sensors across wide areas and through trees and obstructions.
Love-Hz deployed Adaptrum’s ACRS2 systems to backhaul aggregated sensor data
Love-Hz and Nominet developed a live flood monitoring map by connecting water level sensors over
TVWS. Now the residents of Oxford can get early warning of imminent Isis overflow.
Oxford boasts dreamy spires and classical architecture. On a summer’s day, punting sedately along the River Isis, life
in the City seems good. However, in common with many cities worldwide, Oxford faces serious sustainability
challenges. One of these is a risk of flooding following periods of intense rain. Often residents
are poorly informed before the flood hits—there’s little time to prepare for
the worst. The risk has been present for as long as the city has existed, but TV White Space
(TVWS), along with low-cost sensors, are providing useful new tools to help manage it.
The Internet of things (IoT) brings together the capability of distributed devices and cloud computing to tackle diverse challenges. Real-time processing of potentially vast amounts of live data can yield timely and effective intervention to make the systems we depend on more efficient and more responsive; but this requires significant bandwidth and low latency in the data links between sensors and cloud systems.
Eventually billions of devices may participate in the IoT, all depending on a reliable connection to the internet. Their connectivity requirements are likely to be as diverse as their applications, but wireless will be the predominant connection medium. And for many applications, like the Flood Network, TV White Space provides the ideal connectivity for building machine-to-machine networks.
Introduction to the Oxford Flood Network
The River Isis appears sedate as it flows through the center of Oxford, with punts setting forth from college landings dotted
along its calm waters. However the river can rise to quite high levels after periods of intense
precipitation in the surrounding countryside. The punters may not be seriously affected, but water flooding from overflowing river banks can threaten life and property while saturating the surrounding land.
Love-Hz, a local wireless technology startup led by Ben Ward, saw an opportunity to do something about the issue leveraging
TV White Space. Ben recognized that the great propagation characteristics of signals in this
frequency range (the UHF band) would enable data to be gathered cost effectively from widely
distributed water level sensors. Such data could be used to provide advanced warning of rising
river levels allowing local authorities and property owners to take early mitigating action.
Love-Hz teamed up with Nominet, Adaptrum’s UK TV White Space spectrum database partner, to create an IoT-based solution to the problem. Using sensors mounted on fixed platforms, such as bridges, water level data is collected around Oxford.
At present, the sensors use narrow band wireless communications technology to link them to a local communications hub. The sensor data is aggregated at each hub and backhauled over TV White Space channels using Adaptrum ACRS 2.0 devices. Data is then analyzed and visualized in the form of a live Flood Map. All residents in the area now enjoy the benefits of advanced flood warning.
The network has been designed as a community-based initiative. The water level sensors are assembled from kits and mounted by local residents. Similarly, TVWS offers a community approach to building a machine-to-machine network. Unlike mobile data networks—which cost millions to implement and are ill-suited for low-cost experimentation—TV White Space has an incredibly low cost of entry.
Running since October 2014, the Adaptrum’s ACRS2 radios have reliably supported the Flood Network providing broadband non-line-of-site connectivity to remote sensors. “I’m pleased to say the Adaptrum radio hardware has been steady, performing at around 13Mbps non-line-of-sight through several rows of houses, many trees and a railway line,” said Ben Ward of Love-Hz. “It’s ideal for a site which only has mains power, but requires CCTV, sensor backhaul, or broadband.”
Looking ahead, the current TVWS network provides the broadband bandwidth needed to future-proof the solution for higher date rate IoT applications. And as Adaptrum’s TV White Spaces technology advances, it will be able to deliver the low power demand and compact footprint required for sensor integration. But there’s no need to wait, since ACRS2.0 enables access to the power of TV White Spaces connectivity today, in a modular, flexible, and future-proof way.