Worldwide there is an existing base of millions of remote environmental monitoring stations, nearly all of which have serial outputs. The vast majority use proprietary cellular (and satellite) bandwidth at great cost. In many cases these legacy services are being decommissioned. LoraWAN is an emerging low energy, long distance, public bandwidth alternative that is rapidly growing in popularity. Creating a LoraWAN bridge for these legacy devices will be a great way to extend the life of these installations at low cost. It can also facilitate existing installations where (due in part to communication cost and remote locations) the data is currently manually gathered. Our project takes a low cost, small embedded computer, and LoraWAN radio to create a store and forward bridge from the serial output of these devices, sends the data to a gateway. In this case, the data is sent in an MQTT message to a broker for distribution to subscribers. Here we collect data from an air quality monitor as time series data via OpenNMS for display on the web using Grafana. The next step for this IoT device is to produce a refined purpose-built design to further lower cost, increase flexibility, add features (such as GPS), and make it suitable for harsh environments.

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People asked "doesn't this already exist"? The surprising answer is, NO! I wish it did! With device specific programming, you can send serial data with existing radios that are directly connected to a device, but the programming is very difficult and there are no such devices with onboard local storage. A small low power computer with a Lora radio can do significant edge computing in addition to providing this function. This combo pack transforms legacy devices into IoT devices.

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