MANY aql Core and Edge boards 2022

Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) Project Closing Event: Using 5G to drive rural-tech levelling-up

Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) is a project funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) as part of the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme. The project focused on how the deployment of next-generation 5G networks with IoT capabilities will assist North Yorkshire’s isolated communities in addressing basic concerns such as promoting tourism, combatting social isolation, and developing early warning systems for flooding disasters.

As part of the MANY Project, aql has created a 5G testbed at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire. This project has allowed aql to deploy a 5G and 4G innovation network and also an IoT innovation laboratory. This initiative is now a permanent part of the RAFx’s technology incubator.

RAF Leeming has been used as a base for collaboration, resulting in partnerships on sensor technologies and renewable energy approaches with the Eden Project and also the MoD’s project VITAL, which is centred around the adoption of circular “cradle to cradle” methodologies to support the carbon neutrality of UK Defence by 2030.

The project has also allowed safe innovation – working with 90 Signals Unit to create sensors and technology to monitor agriculture, crops, and beehives. In wider North Yorkshire it has been used to monitor water and fuel tanks to help automate estate management. The methodology employed by aql has been to use applicable technology which can be powered in the field by renewables, using modular equipment which can be repaired if needed rather than replaced.

Much of the learnings have also been fed back into the UK 5G Climate and Environment working group, which is chaired by aql CEO, Professor Adam Beaumont. This forms part of a wider aql group project “Sensing Change®” which uses data to positively reinforce the actions and the impact that society is making in its journey towards net-zero and beyond.

Andrew Morris, aql’s VP of Product and Development, spoke at the MANY project closing event, where he demonstrated how 5G Enabled Internet of Things (IoT) sensors coupled with machine learning can enable data into insights and actions.

Andrew discussed the 5G Network and IoT incubator at Leeming, which is providing MoD’s project VITAL with an end-to-end platform to use and build upon. The capabilities provided coupled with the site case studies are allowing the MoD to build out further capabilities as they strive to be carbon neutral.

aql was able to support Tupgill Estate to reduce manual efforts required to monitor fuel usage dramatically. Before the solution was in place, individuals needed to physically travel to each location and ‘dip test’ each of the fuel tanks to ascertain their relative fluid levels. This process could take many hours, multiple times a week. This would also mean that leakages and fuel theft instances would often be noticed too late.

By enabling the Core™ IoT Platform and Edge™ Sensor Boards, the Tupgill Estate can now measure specific tank volumes & usage in a matter of seconds. Relevant sensors transmit data packets every few seconds to the Edge™ Sensor Boards via LoRaWAN, which are then transmitted back to the Core™ IoT Platform over the 4G/5G Cellular Network. Users can receive emails and SMS alerts when the volume reaches a pre-set threshold using the platform’s smart notification system, removing the need for the platform to be monitored closely. The data gathered by the platform is supporting the team with wider insights to improve fuel management efficiencies across the estate.

Leo Morris, Tupgil Estate manager said:
“Our work with aql and the larger MANY consortium has enabled huge improvements to the Tupgill Park estate. Innovations include a 5G network, enhanced connectivity and smart data insights. Notably, aql has provided a smart platform where IoT sensors can retrieve data from areas all over the estate. Connectivity issues associated with rural areas created their own challenges but utilisation of LoRawan and Bluetooth technologies provided a solution. The data obtained, displayed on a clearly laid out portal, coupled with alerts for key data points, has provided us a much easier and efficient way of completing processes. This adoption has not only saved many hours, making it a useful cost-saving exercise, but also allowed accurate forecasting of resources by reviewing historical and seasonal data.

We’re thrilled to continue to work with aql and look forward to seeing how their tech can further enhance our ability to provide greater efficiencies.”

VP Product & Development, Andrew Morris, demonstrating the aql Edge™ Sensor Boards and aql Core™ IoT Platform

The event aimed to highlight the MANY project’s triumphs as well as the challenges it faced in successfully deploying a 5G network over a remote section of North Yorkshire. The MANY team has worked with and for the community over the course of the project to ensure that the project meets their social and economic needs.

North Yorkshire strives to be a digitally connected county and is exploring ways to enhance the lives and livelihoods of residents and businesses. MANY was a huge step toward achieving this and have worked hard to develop innovative solutions to support a safer and improved place to live, visit and work.
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