How do I get started with LoRa? Connectivity in conservation

Our ninth WILDLABS Season 2 Tech Tutor, Sean Sturley, tackled the question, "How do I get started with LoRa? Connectivity in conservation".

Watch it on the WILDLABS Youtube Channel!

You can also ask Sean more questions, discuss this topic and collaborate with other participants in our episode forum.

Image credit: Ruud Maaskant

Date published: 2021/02/01

About the Series

Introducing the second season of WILDLABS Tech Tutors, our series that focuses on answering the "how do I do that?" questions of conservation tech. Launched with the support of Microsoft AI for Earth, this series will give you the bite-sized, easy-to-understand building blocks you'll need to broaden your conservation technology horizons, enhance your research, or launch a new collaborative project.

Taking place every Thursday, each Tech Tutor will present a 30 minute tutorial guiding you through an aspect of conservation tech, followed by a 30 minute live Q&A session with the audience.

Tech Tutors is made for conservation tech beginners of all knowledge levels (and yes, even experts can still be beginners when it comes to tackling a new aspect of conservation tech or starting a new project!), and because we know that there's always more to learn in the #tech4wildlife world, that's why we're so excited to bring you a brand-new season of WILDLABS Tech Tutors! With presentations that will take you even deeper into those tricky "how do I do that?" questions of conservation tech, we hope you'll discover new perspectives and ideas to bring to your own #tech4wildlife work.

For participants, the outcome will be an increased sense of confidence in their technological skills, the ability to actively build off of the skills discussed in these tutorials, and an opportunity to learn and collaborate with other members of the WILDLABS community. Read about the first season's community highlights here.

Our goal is to customize these tutorials to fit the needs of the community and address your needs, so let us know what you want to see in this season and beyond.

Can't make it? You can find every tutorial after it airs on our Youtube channel. 

Meet your Tutor: Sean Sturley, University of the West of Scotland

Sean is the Programme lead for Cyber Security at the University of the West of Scotland, where he spends most of his time teaching his students to do scary things to other people’s computers. His main area of research is the security of complex interconnected systems and that can range from multinational networks for secure financial transactions to vast multi-node wide area network based sensor networks. Prior to moving in to academia Sean spent 20 years in the field “connecting stuff” for Banks, Healthcare Services and the Telecommunications Industry (and quite a lot of that time was actually spent in fields).

We asked Sean...

What will I learn in this episode?

  • What is LoRa, what does it do, and how could I use it in my project.
  • Some of the basic rules for connecting things together.
  • How to choose the connectivity model that best suits your project.
  • How to use terms like LoRa, Zigbee, GSM, 5G and NBIoT.

How can I learn more about this subject?

  1. At a high level there are resources such as The Lora Alliance which will give you an insight into the connectivity, rules and regulations etc.
  2. If you’re looking for inspiration of how you could use LoRa or a similar technology in your project you could look at sites like Smart Parks or Milsar.
  3. But if you're looking to get down with some tech you could look at some of the tutorials on the Random Nerds website.

If I want to take the next step using this technology, where should I start?

There are many useful tutorials online for getting into microcontrollers and connectivity. If you're really just starting out, I would enrol in Jacinta and Akiba’s Build Your Own Data Logger course hosted here at WILDLABS. That will go a long way to teaching you the basics and beyond. But if you are already at the stage where you’re saying, “Send me some data”, I would suggest you have a look at the Random Nerds website, there is a lot of good information and examples there.

What advice do you have for a complete beginner in this subject?

Take it slowly, it isn’t really as hard as it sounds or looks. As I tell my first year students, it’s basically just plumbing and Lego. Sometimes you just need to take a minute to think about what you will gain by adding the connectivity layer to a project. Does the added cost and possible complexity add value to your project? Does it shorten your timeline? Do I need to observe the data in real time? If the answer is yes, then come on in and get involved!

Additional resources from the epsiode

Find out what the audience members are working on and look for collaborations - view the participant check in here.

Presentation slides - Tech Tutors: How do I get started with LoRa?

Learn more about our upcoming Tech Tutorials

Visit the series page on WILDLABS to find the full list of WILDLABS Tech Tutors.

coverlineup

Have a question for Sean? We're hosting the discussion in our community!