Novel partnership established to advance the Internet of Things research

The Discovery Park District and Purdue University SMART Consortium have combined forces to enhance the research and technology encompassing the Internet of Things.

The partnership will amalgamate some of the brightest minds and most state-of-the-art facilities in the world to pioneer research on the Internet of Things, designing, refining, and exploring the vast array of disruptive technologies that it comprises.

The Discovery Park District is a cutting-edge, 400-acre, $1bn-plus purpose-driven community that is currently under construction located adjacent to Purdue University. The District will aim to be a global hub for corporations and high-growth businesses to utilise its world-leading talent, research and development facilities, and business prowess of the Purdue University to achieve groundbreaking technological advancement. It will include laboratories, advanced manufacturing facilities, offices, retail shops, restaurants, housing, green space, trails, and an airport with a 7,000-foot runway.

What is the Internet of Things?

Essentially, the Internet of Things describes all devices connected to each other by the internet – a network of ‘things’ implanted with software, sensors, and other technology that allows the device to exchange data with other devices through the internet. The devices that make up the Internet of Things include smart devices, such as watches and phones, as well as self-driving cars and doorbell cameras.

A report published by Mckinsey & Co. estimates that the prevalence of devices within the Internet of Things will grow exponentially over the next ten years. Currently, The Internet of Things is in a primitive state; however, connected devices such as video-enabled doorbells and internet-connected thermostats, among other technologies, will transform the world around us as we know it in the coming years.

The boom of the Internet of Things will bring forth a plethora of capabilities and technologies, including data acquisition from traditional and developing technologies, such as electrical, chemical, and biological sensors, in addition to the data transmission from the sensor to the processing engine such as Wi-Fi, LoRa, BLE, CBRS, or 5G.

Data processing is another area of the Internet of Things that includes machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The data is processed in real-time on the device or in the cloud at a sensor called the ‘edge’. The Internet of Things can employ data to drive a decision or an action, for example, triggering alerts for a patient’s cardiac rhythm.

The SMART Consortium’s expertise

The SMART Consortium is located at the $90m Birck Nanotechnology Center at Purdue University and is a multidisciplinary research centre that amalgamates industry specialists and technology partners to advance research on the Internet of Things. Areas of investigation include Artificial Intelligence-enabled manufacturing, materials and devices, hybrid integration, high-performance electronics, low power communication, networking, and advanced machine learning.

Ali Shakouri, the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of Birck Nanotechnology Center and professor of electrical and computer engineering, said: “The SMART Consortium represents a ‘foundry’ for Internet of Things development. A foundry is a shared developmental manufacturing facility, and they were vital to the rapid growth of Silicon Valley. At the District, we envision a foundry dedicated to supporting the fast development of low-cost, high-volume Internet of Things devices and use cases – generating faster product development pilot runs and lower cost per unit – making innovation much more accessible and affordable.”

The SMART Consortium also controls a LoRa-based network throughout the District, which, combined with the foundry, will enable end-to-end Internet of Things device and use case development and testing in a practical environment.

Troy Hege, the vice president of innovation and technology at Purdue Research Foundation, said: “The SMART Consortium is another piece of equipment we’ve curated for our digital playground and joins our other collaborators Tilson, SBA Communications, US Ignite, the Innovation Partners Institute, and the Indiana 5GZone in our growing innovation ecosystem.”

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