Oman has moved a step closer to its smart city ambitions with the unveiling of Sultan Qaboos University’s newest Internet of Things (IoT) Laboratory at the Communications & Information Research Centre (CIRC).
The launch event was held under the patronage of Dr. Hamad bin Salim Al Rawahi, Executive President of the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority.
SQU’s IoT Lab
Omantel and mOmkin have supported the establishment of the SQU’s IoT Lab. mOmkin is an organisation that specialises in providing IoT solutions using SIGFOX technology and the exclusive SIGFOX operator in Oman.
The IoT Lab in SQU has been established with the aim of transforming the campus into a regional leader in the development and export of smart campus solutions by the year 2022.
Utilising the latest and cutting-edge ICT and other related technologies, SQU’s IoT Lab will bring forth solutions to improve the quality of life of Omani citizens.
IoT has been touted as the ‘new frontier’ of technology that once integrated into urban infrastructure (including residential buildings) will transform them into, what is called, ‘Smart Cities’. This technology transformation will not only aid (and improve) the lives of people but will also provide a gateway for business opportunities.
Be it automated parking systems, traffic management, smart architecture and energy management or security and privacy – IoT can help bridge the gap and create a cohesive whole.
But of course, this is no easy feat. Human capability development is at the forefront of IoT implementation. In light of this, SQU’s IoT Lab will act as the platform to develop not only the tools required to build smart applications but also provide research and development opportunities for future needs.
According to news reports, the lab ‘is equipped with sufficient advanced resources including computers, switches, access points, smart board, and others to conduct research and run most of the software scenarios, software development and testing.’
The different tools available at the Lab include (but are not limited to):
- Arduino kit, a platform that helps both students and professionals to understand how smart devices work and help build devices that can interact with the surroundings with the aid of sensors and actuators.
- Raspberry-Pi 3 kit, the most popular teaching kit for those wanting to the in-and-outs of computing, processors, and related technology
- IoTify Simulator, software that helps users develop IoT applications with ease.
- Open Rex, an open source remote execution, configuration management and software deployment tool
Each student at the lab now has access to individual workstations with enhanced student-instructor interaction opportunities. Additionally, graduate students at the university may utilise the lab facilities for self-directed learning and research projects.
Ultimately, the vision of the Communications & Information Research Centre (CIRC) at SQU is to establish an open platform for interested students to develop innovative IoT applications that will ultimately aid in the development of smart cities.
Working towards a ‘Smart’ Future
SQU’s IoT Lab aims to promote ‘awareness of the use and development of smart city solutions, provide an attractive environment for research and communication between users and Internet experts, smart objects and cities, and provide space for sharing experiences and discussing future applications of Internet and Smart Cities.’
Both students and academics can utilise the complete range of IoT tools now available to them to further drive and develop their research interests and capabilities. Be it healthcare, energy management, or urban development – the use of IoT and innovative technologies are now available in an efficient and inexpensive manner.
Cross-discipline interactions have also been facilitated by the establishment of a research group whose members have been drawn from various departments from the university. These researchers will work together to implement SQU’s smart campus project.