The art of the Internet of Things

10 April 2017

PHOTO: © CANARY WHARF

PHOTO: © CANARY WHARF

Xirrus provided the wireless hardware and software infrastructure for a recent and innovative art installation in London.

Created by digital art group Squidsoup, Bloom was initially launched at Kew Gardens as part of its Winter Trail and Christmas events. It then transferred to Canary Wharf and is now expected to make its international debut in Mexico City this summer.

Bloom comprises around one thousand individual Wi-Fi-enabled IoT light bulbs that sway in the wind and spread a gentle glow each evening.

Featuring around 1,000 light bulbs, Bloom was on display at Canary Wharf (top). Inside each bulb is equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS and IoT intelligence which makes it location-aware.

Featuring around 1,000 light bulbs, Bloom was on display at Canary Wharf (top). Inside each bulb is equipped with Wi-Fi, GPS and IoT intelligence which makes it location-aware.

Each light contains a GPS chip, accelerometer and speakers. These combine to create what’s described as “a digital symphony” of light and sound set against a backdrop of iconic or historic landscapes.

Squidsoup founder Anthony Rowe explains that the combination of Xirrus Wi-Fi, GPS technology and IoT intelligence in each light makes every bulb location-aware.

“This allows them to receive commands from a central digital hub, while bringing subtle choreography and control to the whole installation. The Xirrus Wi-Fi network plays a critical part in this installation, and allows each light to communicate over the network.”

Among the challenges faced by Bloom’s designers was the pressure of maintaining a strong and resilient Wi-Fi signal. They needed a single wireless network with the capability to reliably connect more than a thousand IoT devices across an open outdoor space, while also providing the consistency needed to ensure a stunning display each evening.

The installation also required a management system that could centrally control each Wi-Fi device and fully-utilise the IoT technology present in each node.