Spain’s Balearic Islands are about to be covered in half a million sensors. The regional government’s ambition is to turn the archipelago off eastern Spain into a globally recognized lab for Internet of Things projects.

Benjamí Villoslada, the Balearic government’s general director of technological development, sees the sensor infrastructure as providing an opportunity to develop services that improve the life of inhabitants.

He is pushing for the islands’ existing digital terrestrial television infrastructure to be put to new uses and extended to cover the entire territory with 50 IoT antennas, each supporting at least 10,000 sensors.

“These towers are already there, sometimes in steep, remote places, and have to be maintained. So, we thought we could make them cost-effective and sustainable by attaching antennas that work with IoT modules,” he says.

Villoslada explains that there are many ideas on the table, but city councils and other regional administrations need to develop them.

“We provide the connectivity thanks to [long-range, low-power wireless platform] LoRa technology and make the sensors visible through an API connected to Sentilo, the open-source platform for sensors and actuators developed by Barcelona city council. Then, every project decides how to use this,” he adds.

One possible scheme would involve the regional social-services department using the sensors to help the elderly, from tracking them if they get lost on the streets, to triggering alarms if they’ve accidentally left a pot to boil dry.

The Balearic Islands are…

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