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Finnish expertise heads 6G consortium seeking sustainable IoT

The project’s newly developed IoT concept will use energy, spectrum and infrastructure more efficiently than current solutions, and will be implemented with sustainable technologies.

Credits: : Adobe

Finland’s 6G Flagship is coordinating an EU project that is tasked with developing sustainable and reconfigurable Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

The five-million-euro SUPERIOT project is harnessing the dual-mode operation of radio and, innovatively, light in order to develop a flexible IoT system that produces resource-efficient solutions. Radio and light together represent a holistic approach to providing wireless connectivity, energising the IoT nodes and supporting robust and precise positioning.

The combination of innovative hardware and software components with radio and optical networks is expected to create a highly flexible IoT system adaptable to different environments and conditions.

“We aim to develop a new generation of sustainable and reconfigurable IoT (RIoT) technologies, which will significantly impact how we live in future,” said project coordinator Marcos Katz.

The three-year project is focusing on node implementation, leaning heavily on printed electronics technology. This approach means that in the harvesting their energy from radio waves and light, the electronics will require no battery nor maintenance. Furthermore, all the printed components can either be reused, recycled or disposed of ecologically.

“One aspect of the SUPERIOT project we should not overlook is that it will help create new business opportunities and, therefore, also new jobs,” said project coordinator Marcos Katz.

University of Oulu

Aside from node implementation, some of the novel sustainable solutions being explored include reconfigurable optical-radio operation methods that reduce energy consumption and communication protocols designed specifically for low-power IoT devices.

“These types of technologies will help us move toward a more sustainable society. They will help reduce our environmental footprint and make our devices and infrastructure more energy efficient,” Katz continued.

Altogether, the SUPERIOT project brings together 11 partner organisations from across Europe, including universities, research institutes and private companies. The project will run until early 2026.

The project is the latest in a number of collaborative projects that 6G Flagship is either leading or involved with in Europe, including the European 6G flagship initiative Hexa-X. Based at the University of Oulu, 6G Flagship was established in 2018 as the world’s first large-scale 6G research programme. Carried out by a coalition of research institutes and companies, its activities have ensured Finland remains at the forefront of 6G research and development globally.

A RIoT of 6G

Whilst the abbreviation RIoT may bring forth images of public discord, Katz is at pains to emphasise it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“RIoT is a reconfigurable optical-radio concept where the system automatically decides the best way to exploit radio and optical resources according to the prevailing situation,” he explained. "The decision depends on the availability of the networks, security issues, the application’s requirements, the user or operator decisions, etc."

By: James O’Sullivan
17.01.2023