Today, all types of organisations in many different sectors get confronted with the need for digital transformation. As was Goodplanet at the end of 2017. Together with Proximus they were able to take the first steps into the world of IoT to help them measure the impact of their activities.
Goodplanet is a non-profit organisation that is active in environmental education and sensitization for 20 years now. They work mainly with schools and companies to educated and sensitize them in different environmental fields. Their main topics are nature, food and circular economies.
In the organisation, several employees are managing projects from the office in Brussels. Other collaborators are active in the field to do coaching and raise awareness. “We reach about 500,000 people a year with our many different activities”, says Clément Magos, responsible for innovation and IT projects at Goodplanet.
Measuring is knowing
“Today we are affected by the issue of impact and the need to measure the social impact of our activities”, says Clément. Of course, this applies for all organizations in the sector. As a result of that challenge, Goodplanet and Proximus started the conversation on how they could help realize this need. ‘We looked into the IoT technology and services that Proximus had to offer. Soon, we found a way to implement this technology into multiple projects. We are now able to measure the impact of our activities and the evolution in behavior of our audiences on several environmental subjects. The combination of Proximus MySense, the LoRaWan IoT network and the MyThings and CoudEngine platform made this possible.
Collect data on used transportation to school
To gather this valuable information, Proximus and Goodplanet created the so called ‘Kiosks’ to set up surveys, using IoT technology. The kiosks are large panels with an integrated series of MySense sensors with push button. Goodplanet assigned a question and answer to each one of the sensors, related to topics like mobility and nutrition.
One of the surveys done, was measuring the students’ choice of transport to school. “In the past, no data was available on that matter”, says Clément. Tracking the evolution in the use of transport means and how that’s related to Goodplanet’s and the school’s activities is valuable information to their daily business.
They asked the following question in 8 different schools: “how did you come to school this morning”? The answers to choose from: “on foot, by bike, by car or by public transport”. Next, all the students had to do, was choosing the suitable answer by pushing the matching button. “It all seems simple, but in our sector it’s a big step ahead. This system offers a lot of advantages, unlike the paper surveys that were done before”, says Clément.
- It gives us more certainty on the data quality
- It allows larger scale data collection
- It allows us to handle more themes in the same period of time
This is how it works technically
Every time someone presses a button, it sends a message over the Proximus LoRaWAN network. Each button on the deployed panels is battery operated. They have a lifetime of multiple years, because our Low Power LoRaWAN network. Therefore the schools do not need to provide any kind of local connectivity.
The Proximus MyThings platform receives and decodes the messages emitted by the buttons. Decoded messages are automatically pushed to the Proximus EnCo CloudEngine platform. On CloudEngine, 2 scripts have been implemented:
- The first script creates a new Google Sheet document every first day of the month and saves this new sheet reference on the platform. Thereafter an email is sent to the GoodPlanet administrator to inform him the sheet and online reference was created successfully.
- The second script receives decoded messages coming from the buttons over the LoRaWAN network via MyThings. It extracts meaningful information fields from these messages and adds them as a new data row in the Google Sheet.
Working with Google Sheets makes it easier for GoodPlanet to use the collected information. Indeed, GoodPlanet is not a large IT shop with tens of developers. Neither does it have an IoT platform with analytics at hand. Using modern, every day online tools such as Google Sheets allows them to easily plot and graph the data just like in Excel. But they can export this data in any suitable format (csv, XLS, …) for consumption by another service.
A platform to collect, monitor and visualize
This survey system is part of the GoodSchool DigiTool project. Goodplanet and Proximus created the platform www.goodschooldigitool.be so schools can visualize and monitor the collected data from the sensors. It does not only contain information on mobility, but also on topics like energy, waste and nutrition.
Schools gain insights thanks to this platform and based on that information, they can sensitize their students and start concrete actions to improve the school’s sustainability.
If you have a project on which you’re looking for support in implementing our IoT solutions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help you realize your ideas! Or get started yourself by using our APIs offered to you in our Enco marketplace.