Hello, we’re Tevi. Welcome. If you’re here you’ve probably spotted our equipment, and perhaps you’re wondering what it’s all about? We’re very happy to tell you about it, and we thought we could give you a better explanation here than trying to squeeze it on to a small sign.
What are the antennas for?
They mostly listen, to GPS signals (small mushroom-shaped antenna) and to tiny transmissions from small very low power sensors (longer pole antenna).
As part of our work we are deploying sensors across Cornwall/IoS. Our sensors will help businesses monitor: energy use, water use, temperature and waste generated. We also want to keep an eye on the wider environment, for example: noise and light pollution, air quality, and rainfall. This might provide data to predict and respond to pollution and flooding events that impact on wildlife, our health and our communities. We also want to support wildlife monitoring research that helps to conserve and grow our most vulnerable species on land, air and sea – from hedgehogs and birds to dolphins and whales.
The equipment will also have a wider benefit to the local community and Cornwall/IoS as a whole as a communication network for all kinds of other things. This could be sensors to allow more efficient farming practices that use fewer chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It could be smart grid applications, promoting energy efficiency and perhaps making better use of renewable energy. Location tracking might avoid things getting lost on land or sea that might otherwise cause environmental problems. It could even be used in health and welfare applications, for example safety-of-life for outdoor activities and water sports. There are so many exciting possibilities.
I live nearby, is this safe?
In a word, yes. We use 868MHz frequencies at the low end of the UHF range. UHF frequencies have been widely used for over half a century for TV transmissions, alarms, wireless doorbells, car fobs, and more recently home WiFi. What’s new with our technology is just that a special technique is used to encode the data (chirp spread spectrum) so we can decode it at longer range but using less power.
Remember also that our equipment mostly listens. Only the pole antenna transmits occasionally. Transmissions are limited to a power of just 25 milliwatts ERP, and this happens for less than 15 minutes per day in total. By comparison a typical home WiFi router has a maximum power of 100 milliwatts ERP, four times higher, and is transmitting much of the time. Our equipment operates within legally-defined maximum limits, set to ensure that these frequencies are available for everybody to use without becoming congested and interfering with each other. There is no evidence of any detrimental health effects of these signals, even at much higher power.
Tevi’s LoRaWAN devices are managed by Ver Facil: https://www.verfacil.co.uk/
We really appreciate the overwhelming and continued support we have received for our project from businesses and local communities, together we will make a difference. Thank you Cornwall and Isles of Scilly!