“Sigfox U.S.A., the U.S. network operator for the global Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) connectivity provider Sigfox, today announced that it has been selected by Gloucester Innovation as the Internet of Things network of choice to capture ocean floor data with simple devices that could ultimately attach to more than 300,000 Massachusetts lobster traps. Through the initiative, dubbed “LobsterNet,” Sigfox U.S.A. provides Gloucester Innovation with low power wide area connectivity that will allow the devices to transmit oceanic acidity, depth, temperature and other ocean floor information on a daily basis. Gloucester Innovation will initially use the data to empower fishermen to most effectively place and track lobster traps, and ultimately support the Blue Economy.
With the Earth’s oceans changing constantly, having visibility to the ocean floor has become increasingly important for the Blue Economy, both to help ensure the health of the ocean and to enable those operating within marine industries to do so successfully. However, data collection in these industries comes with a unique set of challenges – especially when it comes to cost-effectively gathering information in real time.
Sigfox’s LPWAN technology addresses these challenges. Unlike other connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cellular, Sigfox U.S.A.’s LPWAN technology offers reliable, long-range coverage across oceanic waters upwards of 20 miles off the shoreline. In addition to utilizing the national network, Gloucester Innovation has bolstered offshore connectivity by strategically deploying Sigfox U.S.A.’s Connectivity as a Service (CaaS) in key shoreline locations. By incorporating Sigfox’s IoT technology into devices that will simply attach to lobster traps with zero intrusion to the lobstering process, Gloucester Innovation is able to gather oceanic floor information in days, rather than months.
“By leveraging Sigfox U.S.A.’s LPWAN technology, we’ve been able to demonstrate the technical viability and feasibility of ocean data harvesting in near real time,” said Ric Upton, founder of Gloucester Innovation. “Sigfox U.S.A.’s IoT connectivity is cost efficient for use cases such as this and makes it easy to connect to a massive number of sensors that allow us to effectively collect ocean floor data off the coast of Massachusetts with no disruption to the lobstering process. With this visibility, those in the local Blue Economy can access insights from unprecedented amounts of data, allowing them to improve operations and monitor changing ocean conditions.”
Gloucester Innovation is a Gloucester, Mass.-based organization focused on building platforms, solutions and businesses at the intersection of marine applications, robotics and biotech. As Massachusetts buckles down on its commitment to invest in technologies that help improve the state’s marine industries, Gloucester Innovation, in conjunction with Lobster Foundation of Massachusetts (LFoM), is deploying several hundred sensors attached to lobster traps off the state’s coast. The LobsterNet project, a winner of the inaugural Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council Grand Challenge awards, will initially begin with coverage in select coastal locations, with the ultimate goal to create a network that will cover all of Massachusetts’ 192 miles of coastline.
“This project shows the breadth of what our technology can enable,” said Chris King, Director, Northeast Region for Sigfox USA. “We are excited to be working with Gloucester Innovation to provide insight and information to a critical local economy, and beyond that provide data to industries that are operating with minimal real-time data, such as the Blue Economy.”