21/03/23 13:06

Corporate news

Citizen science projects are on the rise and Orange Belgium boosts their data science

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Orange Belgium has been supporting citizen science projects since 2020. The latest project is ‘Soil Life’, a collaboration with Hasselt University and the biggest study to date into Limburg’s soil life. In 1,000 locations in Limburg, the selected participants will observe life beneath the surface of their garden soil for a total of three months.   Once again, Orange Belgium supplies the smart sensors that connect with the Orange NB-IoT network. This way the data collected by the sensors can be read out in real time and the scientists can start analysing it right away. In addition, Orange Belgium also makes its LiveObjects data platform available to allow reliable, coherent and safe readout and storage of the sensor data. Subsequently this data is retrieved and read into the scientists’ database for further analysis.

This project further cements the telecom operator’s commitment to citizen science projects, in addition to projects such as ‘Klimaattuiniers’ (‘Climate Gardeners’) in collaboration with KU Leuven), and ‘CurieuzeNeuzen’ (‘Nosy Parkers’), in collaboration with UAntwerp).

Soil sensors and data transfers for ‘Soil Life’

The call-out campaign to take part in the Soil Life study kicks off on 20 March. Then in mid-April 1,000 participants will be selected who will receive a measuring kit containing teabags and a soil sensor. From June through September they will conduct the study in their own garden. The results of the study will be published in February of next year.  

The goal of the Soil Life project is to determine the condition of soil life in Limburg and, based on the outcome of the study, to give pointers for better soil management as well as raise public awareness. Orange Belgium is in charge of transferring the data collected every day by the soil sensors in the individual gardens to UHasselt.

Sofie Thijs of Hasselt University says: “We are delighted that Orange Belgium has decided to put its weight behind ‘Soil Life’. Not only does Orange Belgium provide technical support but we can also benefit from the generous experience they’ve built through their involvement in other citizen projects. This way they generate additional insights and help identify interesting correlations in the measuring results. The success of our research depends on an IoT network and platform that is reliable and sophisticated, enabling us to arrive at interesting empirical results in a complementary way.”  

Trusted partner in citizen science projects

‘Soil Life’ is not Orange Belgium’s first foray into citizen science. The telecom operator frequently supports initiatives that focus on sustainability and citizen participation. Since the start of this year, Orange Belgium also contributes to the Klimaattuiniers (‘Climate Gardeners’) project in collaboration with KU Leuven. The partners in the ‘Climate Gardeners’ project want to map out and boost the climate potential of Leuven’s gardens. In addition, they also want to find a way of convincing the general public to adopt more climate-friendly gardening methods. Orange Belgium acts as the project’s connectivity partner and object and data platform provider.

Previously Orange Belgium also contributed to ‘CurieuzeNeuzen in de Tuin’ (‘Nosy Parkers in the Garden’), Flanders largest-ever citizen research project into heat and drought, in a collaboration with UAntwerp. With the aid of 50,000 CurieuzeNeuzen, the project examined how not only gardens but also parks and nature reserves can be better protected against drought.

Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise, Wholesale & Innovation at Orange Belgium, says: “Orange Belgium is more than happy to place its generous experience in terms of IoT and data transfer and science at the disposal of citizen science projects. This is our way of contributing towards a better living environment and healthier cities while experiencing how mobile technology can offer valuable assistance in this process. We also try to innovate together and find sustainable solutions for social challenges that have a major impact on everyday life.”

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