Pitching in with the Internet of Things (IoT)

Earlier this year we were approached by the Partnerships and Regional Engagement team at The University of Sheffield to create a website that would act as a hub for their IoT project, Pitch-In. Along with project information, the website needed to deliver news, events listings, and a toolkit of resources developed from the research. Crucially, the website needed to be scaleable and able to cope with demand as the project evolves.

Pitch-in is a collaboration between four of the UK’s leading universities. Led by The University of Sheffield in partnership with Cambridge, Oxford and Newcastle, leading researchers and academics contribute their findings to a growing repository of knowledge aiming to break down the barriers to IoT adoption across five different sectors; Cities, Energy, Health and Wellbeing, Management, and Manufacturing. Now if that sounds like a daunting task you’d be right, but with the wealth of knowledge they bring to the table this digital mountain has been cut down to size. Oh, and to be honest, we weren’t sure what IoT was either, but it’s essentially one device talking to other devices (for devices read: fridges, cars, machines, phones, TVs, lightbulbs) via the internet.

From the outset, it was pretty clear that a well-structured website would be crucial to meeting the brief — the website had the potential to become messy and unwieldy as news and projects needed to be added by multiple users. To counter this, we created a set of wireframes with a clear hierarchy, enabling visitors to easily navigate the website and its content. We also integrated a simple filter in key sections so that visitors can tailor the content to their specific interests. Behind the scenes we implemented a practical CMS (that’s content management system to you and me) to manage the various media types across the entire site.

Finally, we applied our typographic-led visual identity to the website, which utilises the versatile typeface, IBM Plex. Developed by IBM and made available for use via the ever-expanding Google Fonts platform, Plex has a flavour of modern tech, due to its distinctly engineered letterforms which are rooted in the company’s heritage, making it an apt choice for the Pitch-in project.

Believe us when we say, IoT is only going to become an even bigger part of our daily lives as time rolls on. From more efficient, smarter cities to cost-effective, connected healthcare systems, the challenges to wider, responsible IoT adoption are considerable and complex. For this reason, the world-class research at the centre of the Pitch-in project is crucial. It was a privilege to play a part in getting such a project off the ground by partnering with the The University of Sheffield team to not only deliver a website, but equip them with a resource to disseminate their research into this world-changing technology.

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