The final gateway for the Digital Living Lab’s LoRaWAN network was installed last week, giving unprecedented coverage from Thirroul to Yallah.

The installation of the gateway at Broker’s Nose on the escarpment is with the co-operation of partner Broadcast Australia and is one of the premium sites in the Illawarra.

The gateway completes the LoRaWAN network for Wollongong and brings the total number of gateways to nine.

As well as six, provided free by the SMART Infrastructure Facility, there are another three provided by project partner, Sydney Water.

These gateways are located at Figtree, Cringila and Yallah.

Benoit Passot, who co-ordinates the Digital Living Lab, says the Broker’s Nose site is perfectly placed to service Wollongong’s northern suburbs.

“The Broker’s Nose site sits on the escarpment and has good coverage over a wide area,” he said.

“Coupled with the gateway we have on Mount Keira, we have the Illawarra region covered.”

He said that SMART had now delivered on its promise to provide Wollongong with a network of Internet of Things receivers.

“The challenge now is to get the word out that this is available, and that the only limit on uses is on the imagination,” he said.

Last year, SMART announced the creation of a Digital Living Lab through a network of gateways and sensors across the city.

The first such network was set up in Amsterdam in 2015, and similar networks now serve a community of almost 16,000 people in 200 cities, including Wollongong, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

The cost is low, there is no need to involve telecommunications corporations, the sensors are inexpensive and can continue transmitting for three years or more on the power of a AAA battery.

While the gateways will never handle large bundles of data like movie downloads, they are ideal for small packets of information coming from many information points.

The network already serves as the base for a range of projects – world-first sensors to track the freshness and location of craft beer; monitoring indoor building environments; informing on the likelihood of a shark attack on the region’s beaches; or mapping the location of fire hydrants.

SMART director Senior Professor Pascal Perez has personally driven the idea of a Digital Living Lab covering Wollongong.

“This is a proud day for SMART, and for the Illawarra, because it cements our position at the forefront of Smart Cities in Australia,” he said.

“Although the network is about providing free technology to the community, it’s much more than that.

“Already, the Digital Living Lab is making Wollongong a better place to live – whether that’s about keeping surfers safe from sharks, providing interactive maps for wheelchair users, or ensuring that your craft beer is always fresh.