Science, Technology and Innovation


Wireless ICT and Internet of Things

Wireless SolutionsOur research is about reliable, affordable and sustainable wireless solutions to help foster science in Developing Countries. We leverage unlicensed frequencies to provide broadband solutions such as TVWS and other novel data communications technologies to connect academic institutions, as well as narrowband alternatives to connect scientific devices based on IoT technology. Read a 2017 interview with Marco Zennaro discussing his work on a project in Ethiopia.

Ongoing research

Scientific Applications of IoT

Scientific Applications of IoTThis research activity focuses on finding solutions to the particular challenges of scientific IoT applications in Developing Countries, such as intermittent energy availability, low speed Internet connections, harsh environmental conditions and privacy issues for underrepresented communities.

We focus on specific applications such as weather monitoring using IoT technology, which have a significant local impact while contributing to the improvement of global climate models. We design low-cost stations to monitor weather and environmental conditions. This will allow data collected from observations of dozens, or even hundreds of scientific institutions or educational organizations to be fully and seamlessly integrated. These devices complement the present high-cost sparse network methodology of collecting weather data on the ground. While such an array will have inferior measurement accuracy due to the low-cost nature, the high spatial density of the array is unique and will prove invaluable for research and operational applications.

Wireless Solutions for Academic Networks

Wireless Solutions for Academic NetworksIt is widely recognized that in many regions of the Developing World, poor Internet access in Universities and Research institutions is one of the causes of the scientific divide. We are researching the use of TVWS (TV white spaces) to improve connectivity options for academic institutions in Developing Countries. We developed open source tools to measure the availability of TVWS frequencies, and have made pilot broadband installations in several countries.

Tropospheric Effects on IoT Networks

STI TROPPO TeaserWith the growth of IoT deployments there are many reports of very long wireless links, well beyond the line of sight, which can be explained by anomalous tropospheric propagation. Disruptions on the temperature and humidity profiles in the troposphere on frequencies from about 50 MHz to 10000 MHz cause a change in the refraction index that can significantly change the propagation range. The main goal of the TROPPO platform is to examine radio trajectories from end-nodes to LoRaWAN gateways to understand if anomalous propagation has occurred. This citizen science paradigm approach can be extended to many other fields.

Ongoing projects

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

We are working with UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa to deploy low cost weather stations for the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) for the Southern Africa region.

[UNESCO Biosphere Reserves Website]