2016 - The Things Network

I am very fascinated by the IoT movement. This is why in 2015 I became a regular attendee of the early sessions of The Things Network, a working group based on the nascent LoraWAN technology.

The goal was to create a distributed network of LoraWAN sensors spread around the city, powered by a backbone that would allow any number of devices to connect to it and exchange payload. A sort of alternative, local Internet if you want.

The first meetings were held in the basement of the mythical Rockstart venue on Herengracht in Amsterdam. The atmosphere was that of a total underground hacking team, tinkering around with antennas and electrical components of all kinds.

Back then we had a MQTT broker that people could use to check the data produced by their devices and collected by our LoraWAN network. I wrote an Android SDK to retrieve data from such server and created a sample app to showcase its use.

An underground basement to tinker away
The sample TTN App for the TTN Android SDK

It was a lot of fun to work there for a while, but soon it became clear that despite the proclaimed openness and crowd-ownership, the actual governance was strictly controlled by the two founders. The Things Industries, a for-profit organization sister of The Things Network, was created some time later. There is nothing wrong with for-profit ventures; the only issue is claiming a project to be open when it factually isn’t.

From the same period is my blog post about my first steps with LoraWAN and SodaQ.