When TTN UK announced that there was going to be an official The Things Network conference in the UK, we jumped at the chance to attend.

Just in case you missed it, we've got a "part 1" to this short series of posts about the conference as well!

Measuring the flow of people, and "Shazzam for Bats"

Sharon Richardson, founder of Joining Dots, spoke about Augmented Cognition and why a smarter city is a more collaborative, connected, and responsive city. One of her key points for us was that by monitoring the world around us, we can enable greater data innovation to meet citizens' needs

The two projects that Sharon has worked on recently that really caught our attention were the ability to direct tourists to events in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park on a "per-device" basis (if the device had been seen regularly, it was assumed that they were not a tourist, otherwise directions to the event were provided on digital signage), and the Bats London website, which provides details of the number of bat calls made throughout the park throughout the night.

The Internet of Slurry

Mark Stanley from Thingitude talked about the challenges of Rural IoT (something that we're all too aware of here at Mockingbird Consulting!) and, perhaps more importantly, how it can be used to assist young people on Agricultural Management programmes.

The talk had many excellent points made, but the one we loved was "Dashboards are boring, let's make data visualisation reflect the local community". The idea behind this was to create a way of displaying the data about the farm such as whether the gates were open, if the bins needed emptying, or (much the amusement of all!) whether the slurry pits were filling up, in a way that was more representative of the game "Farmville" than the usual graphs and gauges.

As a direct result of this talk, we're now starting to look at how we present data, and whether we can make it more accessible to our communities.

Bringing the Internet of Things into the classroom

It's not often we endorse a particular product or service, because we like to make sure there are plenty of options when it comes to collecting data about the world around you, however we need to make an exception for the Pi-Supply Microbit LoRa Shield.

When the BBC gave away thousands of the Microbit computing device at its launch, it had a significant impact on the uptake of programming across schools in the UK.

Pi Supply have delivered a LoRa Shield for the Microbit that now allows schools across the country to take advantage of LoRaWAN Networks such as The Things Network, and start to send sensor data back from their Microbits to the same platforms that have previously only been available from commercial providers.

The ability for schools to use LoRaWAN to teach not just programming, but statistical analysis, environmental sciences, and many other subjects is something that makes us really hopeful for the future.

We're on the list of backers, and as soon as we get our hands on one, we'll write a review.

There were many more excellent talks and workshops at the conference, and as soon as the videos become available we'll repost them on our social media channels, so why not find us on Facebook or follow us on twitter and keep up to date with the rural Internet of things!