Harnessing the data from everything that’s online

From cars that know when they need a mechanic and where to find one, to improving transport links between affordable housing and employment centres—Professor Dimitrios Georgakopoulos of Swinburne University of Technology wants to harness the mass of information generated by the internet of things (IoT).

This network consists of every connected device or ‘thing’ (including people) connected to the internet and each other.

Dimitrios has developed ways to gather and distil high-value information from this data.

“The grand challenge of IoT is learning from data produced by billions of machines and devices that are built, owned and maintained by others,” Dimitrios says.  

His cloud-based IoT platforms and real-time data analysis engines have boosted productivity in farming and renewable power generation.

While working at the CSIRO in 2010, Dimitrios was approached by the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre and the Grains Research and Development Corporation to develop a large sensor-based system that would take the legwork out of crop trials conducted in approximately two million test plots around the country.

After struggling with logistics and costs of deploying just 150 compatible sensors, “we had the idea to leave the selection, purchase and deployment of the sensors to the growers and plant scientists,” Dimitrios says.

His team developed an IoT-based data collection and analysis system that could use data from almost any such sensor. This system quickly grew to include thousands of plots and more than 65,000 sensors.

Dimitrios now plans to build strong partnerships with the manufacturing industry to make IoT tools a reality for the next generation of factories. And, through work with authorities, citizens, and service providers in cities across the world, he hopes to improve transport, energy generation, and disaster response, as well as sustainability.