Simon Downes

Simon Downes receiving a Certificate of Excellence for Best Project  Experiment from Dr. Stephen Hole

Simon Downes
Computer Networks
PhD Research: Creating Environmentally Controlled Lecture/Classrooms 

Graduating student Simon Downes has really got involved with almost every aspect of University Life here at UWTSD. He has won awards for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Best Project Experiment and Student Leadership. 

Here is a list of everything Simon has got involved with since September 2014:  

  • Course Representative for 3 years
  • STEM Ambassador 1 year
  • Student Ambassador 3 years
  • PASS Leader for 2 years
  • Girls into IT – Ambassador 1 year
  • Elected the Mature and Postgraduate representative for 2016 SU (resigned post after differing opinions)
  • Fresh Representative for the Students Union
  • Runner-up for 2016 – Student of the year (Student led awards)
  • Presented at the Student Researcher Conference (January 2016)
  • Presented at the NEXUS Conference (May 2017)
  • Received the Ede and Ravenscroft award (Outstanding Academic Achievement) 2017
  • Received an award from the Green Impact team (Special Award – Student Leadership) 2017
  • Attended the Cisco Live event in Berlin 2017
  • Completed an Internship for the WOW Model Project 2016/17
  • Certificate of Excellence Best Project (Experiement)

"My project was specifically based on the Internet of things, wireless networks, and issues within an educational environment, i.e. the classroom, lecture theatre.  The benefit of this is it works for environmental reasons, sustainability, carbon footprint, energy usage and it was just to prove a concept that an older building could be taken using modern technology and monitored and that’s the project in a nutshell, really. 

The support I received from the university came in the form of a couple of lecturers, which was Carlene Campbell who was my main project supervisor but also from Kapilan (Radhakrishnan) who assisted right the way through, however there were numerous lecturers that wanted to know how I was doing, what I was doing, and really just lending their support right the way across from the entire School of Applied Computing."

Simon is raising awareness of his KESS proposal for PhD research, creating environmentally controlled lecture/classrooms monitoring the following variables:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Motion Detection
  • Light Detection and Levels (Luminescence)
  • CO2 Levels
  • Facial Recognition
  • Automation of Windows, Fans and Lights
  • Building Management Software
  • Utilising IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Looking at creating in house sensors and software to manage network

a) What is the specific research question being addressed:

The key objective of this project is to undertake fundamental research into how wireless sensor network (WSNs) can support facilities management to become a technology enabling provider.

Internet of Things (IoT) research is able to provide an infrastructure for sharing and enabling information that can be used to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and operation of ‘society’.

This advanced connectivity and operational accessibility within an identifiable platform is going to revolutionise how buildings are managed and how occupants experience the services. Hence it is important that research bridges the gap between the IoT technology and its practice so that proof of application can support the established proof of principle within this field.

The Facilities Management Journal recently (March 2017: 53) highlighted that the:

“blend of intelligent design, advanced technology, proactive operations planning, and strategic maintenance protocols can be applied to achieve optimal facilities performance”.

The enormous potential of IoT for managing facilities needs to move from the experimental to assessments of how to practically apply the benefits within live projects so that the economic, sectoral and regional benefits can be fully realised.

b) What methodologies / approaches / techniques will be used in the project :

Short-range wireless networks will be used to address the research objectives. ZigBee protocols based on IEEE 802.15.4 will be used because of its low cost, low data rate, low power consumption and hence popular protocol for wireless sensor networks.

Firstly, an extensive literature review and a pilot study will be undertaken to refine the contribution and economic benefits of the project.

Areas to be covered are:

  • occupancy
  • lighting
  • humidity
  • windows
  • blinds
  • power consumption

The University premises will be used to test the technical applications because it is a multi-site campus with different types, architectural styles and uses of buildings so will be an excellent case study to develop a widely applicable management system. 

This system will not only maintain the necessary sensors it will also allow for the user to interact with them directly in a manner which is efficient, effective and reliable. This system will utilise the IoT approach and be available for use via the internet.


  • live installations of sensor networks
  • Simulations – utilising differing software to demonstrate a theoretical approach
  • Comparison of results, included with a comprehensive report / study
  • Developing the building management software to be a live portal for use in overriding the initial setup

This will be founded on the commercialisation of the project findings and provide the principle economic benefits for the region.

c) What are the specific outputs from this research project:

  • Proof of application
  • Creation of a sensor network
  • Sensor network results leading to the development of new building management (BIM)Software.
  • This software tool is then tested, reviewed and adapted.
  • Further research into other areas of application beyond the educational environment.
  • The automated system will support climate foot printing targets and hence address the WAG sustainability agenda.

d) What is the wider relevance of the research:

This research fundamentally supports an improved interface between industrial innovation and business application. The research aims to provide a viable solution to BIM linkages with sensor networks which in turn is a marketable feasible product for business.

Sensor development and in-house production could develop a market leading niche orientated production facility within this innovative technological field. Hence, job creation within the sector with its associated multiplier would enhance regional hub expertise and support skilled job creation. Also, the research positively impacts on the governments sustainability agenda and targets.

Results will facilitate policies such as e.g. The Welsh Governments Re: fit Cymru (2016) and help establishments lower their carbon footprint.

Lead academic supervisor: Dr Carlene Campbell

  • Dr. Campbell is currently working as a Senior Lecturer in the school of Applied Computing. She is also the Director of Research Degrees for the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (FACE).
  • PhD degree in Wireless Sensor Networks from the School of Engineering and Information Sciences at Middlesex University, United Kingdom (UK)
  • MSc in Telecommunications and Computer Network Engineering at London South Bank University, UK
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Professional Practice at Coventry University, UK
  • BSc in Computer and Management Studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Dr. Carleen Campbell  is also a Cisco Certified Academy Instructor (CCAI) for CCNA and CCNA Security. Her research interests include Wireless Networks, Protocols and Security (wireless sensor networks, MANet, wireless body area networks etc.), networks modelling and simulations, Communication network, Security and Ethical Hacking.

She is actively engaged in research and has contributed in a number of research publications in conferences and international refereed journals; she is journal editorial and reviewer for a number of Scientific-professional journals. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA); a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (MIET) and a member of the IET South West Wales Committee.