Insight Open IoT Summer School helping us brush up on tech

7 Oct 2015

With so much going on in relation to internet of things (IoT) technology, it makes sense that those who might be only slightly familiar with the technology would want to brush up on what the latest findings are. That’s where the Insight Open IoT Summer School comes in.

IoT Makers Week graphic

The Open IoT Summer School initiative, operated by Dublin City University (DCU), NUI Galway (NUIG), University College Cork (UCC), University College Dublin (UCD) and other partner institutions, was first launched with the intention of providing face-to-face support to people who want to know more about Open platforms.

Right now, Insight – which represents the single largest investment in R&D by the Irish Government – is in the midst of running one of the largest IoT events in the world, IoT World Europe, in Berlin.

But, last September, the head of Insight Ireland, Dr Martin Serrano, was busy bringing many up to scratch through the IoT Summer School at its base in NUIG.

First held last year, the event was an international event for talented European researchers to discuss the latest goings on in the field, both from a software and hardware point of view.

However, one of the key differences between this event and other tech-focused ones is the effort to include those from outside the field of IoT. The yearly event is not limited to research, the centre says, but open to any industry or SME individuals interested in participating, contributing, developing and acquiring the know-how about the very workings of IoT technology.

After all, previous research has shown that, particularly in industrial sectors, the need for IoT technology roll-out is seen as important to businesses who could potentially be missing out on trillions of dollars of value.

IoT summer school

“The main objective and motivation of the summer school was to ‘open IoT’ semantic interoperability between IoT verticals and data silos for a unified IoT world. [This] can be achieved by implementing federation,” Dr Martin Serrano says to

Over the five-day summer school, Dr Serrano says, more than 43 participants from 22 nations discussed IoT’s future implementations from intelligent manufacturing to car-to-car communications.

One area where IoT is of interest to Dr Serrano and the Insight Centre is in the development of smart cities’ IoT technology.

Last month, the centre and Dr Serrano were involved in the launching of the Open & Agile Smart Cities Ireland (OASC) initiative, to be enacted across Cork, Dublin and Galway to allow the rapid expansion of smart initiatives in all three cities.

Each of the three cities is supported by the Insight Centre – with Dr Serrano at the helm – along with Insight’s eGovernment group led by former United Nations researcher Dr Adegboyega Ojo, and Niall Ó Brolcháin, a former Mayor of Galway City and a long-time advocate of smart cities.

From small scale to region-wide

There are still issues that the Insight centre and Dr Serrano are working to overcome, however. Most notably, there needs to be more focus on homogenising the IoT technology being developed.

“Smart city applications are currently based on multiple architectures, technology standards and seamless software platforms, which has led to a highly fragmented IoT landscape,” Dr Serrano says.

“This fragmentation impacts directly the area of smart cities, which typically comprise several technological silos, i.e., IoT systems that have been developed and deployed independently for smart homes.”

This doesn’t mean that all systems need to be working towards the same goal, however – as Dr Serrano explains, not every city is the same, and trying to create a one-size-fits-all solution is not viable on a city level.

“Smart cities have very local-specific needs to solve, while, at the regional level, there are more opportunities to generate wider and larger system applications and, as such, business opportunities,” he says.

Galway at night image via Shutterstock

IoT Makers Week will explore the internet of things revolution and the makers driving it with reports on from 5 to 9 October 2015. Get updates by subscribing to our news alerts or following @siliconrepublic and the hashtag #IoTMakersWeek on Twitter.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic