# Notes from Webinar 1 #
## “Introduction to our project” Dongpo Deng ##
### The Civic IoT project Taiwan:
Our project is a small part of a much larger project called the “Civic IoT project”. This project is collecting a range of environmental data to help the government reach better decisions. The data collected is all open-source. We are trying to encourage the government to install these sensors at the national level. You can learn more about the larger project here: https://www.civiliottw.tadpi.org.tw/.
### Collaboration model:
private companies-civic tech communities-local communities. We hope to open up opportunities for local businesses whilst also providing sensors to local communities. We want to create successful test cases of collaboration through sending sensors abroad to demonstrate the impact of this technology to local groups and to Taiwanese businesses. We also hope we can build connections with local foreign governments to promote the integration of open civic data.
We will run training sessions for local communities to help them with installation. We will host online workshops later in the year and begin installation this December. We plan to work on the installation from January to June, and report on the project next July.
## “From Do It Yourself to Do It Together: Using AirBox for Environmental Monitoring” - Dr Sachit Mahajan. ##
### Question: Has the lower PM2.5 route actually been used?
Sachit: It was used, but the system is currently offline for improvement. The calculation needs to be improved for longer routes and for predictive values. We should have the new version up by the end of the year.
### Question: What are your priorities for additional sensors?
Sachit: noise and carbon dioxide sensing. There’s no direct link between noise and pm2.5, but we think it’s useful to understand how people perceive the pollution overall. Carbon dioxide sensing is also quite popular at the moment.
### Follow up: Is the C02 monitoring aimed at covid ventilation monitoring? Does it need a GPS?
Sachit: Yes. We will determine whether or not we need a GPS sensor based on the response.
### Question: Besides Taiwan, where have these sensors been deployed?
Sachit: In many locations in Europe and the US, including the UK and Germany. Many were installed in Houston, Texas following a typhoon. We wanted to test how the typhoon affected the pollution. Most are here in Taiwan, but we are always looking for more partners to expand.
### Question: Air sensors need to be installed in open areas. How do we deal with power and internet limitations in rural areas?
Sachit: How to make devices more cost effective and energy efficient is a subject of ongoing research and there are a lot of different options to ensure you can get all the data regardless of the location. In areas of low internet connectivity, there is the option to use an SD card to store the data. Lora1 has already been tested.
### Question: What has the reaction from the government been?
Sachit: We have been sharing our data with the Environmental Protection Agency in Taiwan so that there is no disconnect between research bodies and official data. There is a forward-looking infrastructure project in Taipei and airboxes and have been included in this.
## “The LASS Waterbox project” Liu Shaoyuan ##
### Question: What is the state of the most recent updated version of the waterbox?
Shaoyuan: The most recent version of the water box is able to stay outside and function for a long time. We are trying to make a system that is much more able to scale and is open for purchase at a larger scale.
### Question: How many sensors does the current system have?
Shaoyuan: three, water temperature, connectivity, and pH level. There are options for expanding use, such as dissolved oxygen levels. There are not many sensors currently supported by our framework. If there are more sensors that can be supported, I will be more than happy to add more sensors.
### Question: Water quality sensors need calibration often. Are there any sensors that don’t need to be calibrated so often?
Shaoyuan: All waterboxes need to be checked ideally at least once a week. The longest I have heard of is once a month. Because LASS is using low-cost sensors, our devices should be recalibrated about once a week.
### Question: Are there soil nutrients sensors?
Shaoyuan: Yes, but they are much more expensive than our current product, and they are much less open for public use. They require high-tech equipment to develop and implement.
### Question: Roughly how much does the device cost? What about dissolved oxygen sensors?
Shaoyuan: The current device is approximately $8000NTD (roughly USD: 290), but this doesn’t include the additional devices added for the hackathon. We hope the full device with more sensing capabilities will be under $500. Good dissolved oxygen sensors cost around $220 on their own.
### Question: Can the waterbox use a FIWARE system and NQTT protocals?
Shaoyuan: it is compatible with NQTT protocals, but the question is what type of telecommunication networks are being used. Is it 4g, 5g, lora? We need to understand the local environment better before we can determine how feasible it is.
## “Introduction to Civil IoT Taiwan Service and Solution Guide” - Tony Huang ##
### Question: How would it work for participants outside of Taiwan to access Cameo AI analysis platform, or replicate it?
Tony: The aim of this project is to promote these companies overseas. Most of these companies are quite small and although they do innovative work, they don’t have the ability to promote themselves outside of Taiwan. We need the government's support to help make these systems more accessible. The Cameo system does not work without existing telecommunication infrastructure, but it is trying to expand across Asia. It wants to collaborate with companies abroad and continue to expand its services.
### Question: Different water bodies require different types of sensors. Are you planning to make the system modular?
Shaoyuan: The system is designed to be as modular as possible. The codes of the device have already been made open access.
### Question: Can you introduce a little bit more about our (OCF) project?
Dongpo: We are seeing how we can use the collaboration between NGO’s to expand the opportunities of Taiwanese businesses. We are doing this by getting Taiwanese companies more involved with local communities and encouraging them to send devices to communities abroad for use and testing. We hope that this project will also help us improve our devices and better understand the needs of different communities.
### Question: There is clearly a need for air and water monitoring in cities, what about outside of cities?
Tony: The need is quite high. The health issues associated with pollution affect populations in and outside of cities. What we need to work on is understanding the needs of rural communities and convincing companies that there is a need for devices in rural communities. The companies we work with aren’t NGO’s, and so we need to convince them that there is a benefit for them in working with rural communities.
Sachit: From our studies, we can see that many are unaware of the health effects of many daily practises in rural communities, for example, cooking or gas usage. I think it’s very important to also focus on small towns.
Tony: This is why we need both private and public support. To help to promote these sensors in rural communities, we will likely need government support.
Dongpo: There are a range of different environmental issues in different communities. Even with one sensor in a rural area, we can get a better sense of where pollution is coming from. There are a lot of different possibilities for working with these sensors so if you want to get involved, you can think of the different options for installations.
Shaoyuan: when we start to detect environmental damage in cities, it’s already too late. That’s why we need to install more devices outside of cities, as only then can we create the data on the places where people are living.
### Question: what consideration has been made for installation in areas in rural communities or areas with unreliable power sources? Have you considered solar panel usage?
Shaoyuan: When we first developed these devices, we designed them for places with no access to power, so that’s why we focused on solar energy. From our current design, relying on solar power is fully possible. We are also trying to test using water power.
Sachit: This is a very important point. We have been experimenting with mobile power sources like power banks to allow sensors that can be used on the go.
### Question: Is there any international collaboration on this project?
Dongpo: We welcome communities from every country to join us. We have to consider the feasibility of collaboration based on the environmental issues being addressed and the deployment plan. We need to understand which communities will be able to install and maintain the equipment. We really hope to enable deployment overseas
### Question: Does the profit motivation for companies developing environmental sensors create difficulties for the expansion and sustainability of civic IoT’s?
Tony: If there is no profit, the companies won’t be interested in any non-profit collaboration. The motivation to develop their technologies is profit. We, and the government, can push them to do something good for the sake of it, but without profit incentives, these projects won’t last very long.
Sam: The position of OCF is that, even if there are risks, there are ways to do these collaborations that allow us to use the technology and resources of these companies to do something that is meaningful and useful for local communities. There is a lot we can gain from working with businesses, and there are ways to collaborate with them in a way that minimises risk.
Shaoyuan: I don’t think there has to be risks, there can also be opportunities for both groups to help each other out. . There are certain tests and trials that businesses won’t do because they don’t see the profit possibilities. As makers or tech communities, we can do these smaller trials and demonstrate that there are in fact potential applications of these trials. We can demonstrate new opportunities to businesses, and we can gain resources and technology to experiment with from them.
Dongpo: It also depends on the size of the companies. Big companies typically have their own R&D section and they are worried about their research getting stolen, so they are hesitant to collaborate. Smaller groups are usually more open to collaboration, as we can help them to more test runs and trials.
### Question: What do we mean by “collaboration with NGO’s”
Dongpo: We are trying to help people outside of Taiwan become aware of these technologies. In the long term, the development of a civic IoT will require collaboration with international NGO’s based on shared values and goals that will allow this project to be more sustainable. Through working with local groups and NGO’s, we want to make our sensors more suitable and useful for a diverse range of groups. This said, at the beginning, direct collaboration with local groups is crucial at this early stage.