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TrustLens Toolkit

Tools to help organisations think through how to use IoT sensors in public spaces

Many organisations are interested in the way that technology can be used in public spaces to solve problems or provide opportunities for new benefits to society. For example, smart street lights which only turn on when they are needed, or a network of sensors that provide data on air quality.

There are many questions that need to be considered in such deployments to make sure that the technology is being used to everyone’s benefit. Potential problems such as privacy risks must be understood and mitigated, and information should be available to those who might wish to understand the system, such as members of the public.

By using this toolkit you can discover what information is available about the deployment, have the answers handy in one place, discover areas where you might not know the answers right now, and consider where you might need to seek additional information.

Tools to facilitate a workshop

Bring people together to facilitate a discussion about IoT

Facilitation Process

Case Studies

Participatory Policies for IoT (at the edge) Ethics

Beacons Project, 2022

The Trustlens tool was used to evaluate the design and deployment of beacons around the city, which were deployed in the project described below. The researcher involved in the beacons project told us “I found it really useful going through the steps – and you’ve done an amazing job in trying to capture all the different aspects related to IoT deployments. A mammoth task!”

We created a walking trail around Lancaster to raise awareness of sustainable food growing in urban environments. The activity was timed to highlight the COP26 events occurring nationally and in Lancaster specifically, although the life of the trail has continued beyond that. The trail drew together several projects connected to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for communities around Morecambe Bay using pervasive technology.

The trail covers 7 locations around Lancaster city centre, is about 4km in length and takes about an hour to walk. Low power, passive, Bluetooth beacons are located at each spot and, as the participant approaches, content within a mobile phone app is triggered. The content contains a mixture of video, audio, imagery and text personalised to each location. It invites the participant to think about local growing, food sustainability and environmental/pollution concerns. There are opportunities for the participant to interact with the content if they wish; the trail also has feedback opportunities at the end of the trail, or online, for further comment or contact as requested.

The combination of beacons and mobile app was used to limit the amount of battery power or data downloads required from the participant. For those participants who did not have a mobile phone, or did not wish to download an app, a brochure of the trail was created with QR codes for each location. A scan of the QR codes took the participant to a website, which contained a replica of the app content, and this meant that the more dynamic media (eg. videos, audio) could be experienced without the app. This also meant that people could ‘experience’ the trail, without physically walking the trail.

Download Tools

Customise your download by selecting the project stages you want to explore

Facilitator Guildlines


Question Packs

Sets of questions for facilitating a workshop

Question Cards

Just the questions


Question Templates

Add your own questions

This toolkit is available in a range of formats to suit your needs.

The facilitator guidelines provide more information along with guidance on how best to run your workshop.

Feel free to select more than one project stage (Scoping, Development and Operation) to suit the project and the group you want to work with. This will filter the questions in the tools you download.

  • Scoping example: A community group would like to know more about noise levels in different parts of the city, to identify areas that are particularly noisy or quiet and understand how this changes at different times of the day, and on different days of the week.
  • Development example: There is a new LORAWAN (low power wide area) network being installed across a region, and the local city council has funding from a Smart City programme to purchase some devices which can use the network to transmit information they collect.
  • Operation example: A university campus has purchased a number of sensors which detect occupancy levels in various buildings, to improve use of space.


The PPITEE project which developed the Trustlens tool was funded by PETRAS and uses design methods to develop new policies for transparent and ethical deployment of secure Internet of Things sensors in public spaces.

The tool also builds on prior work by the TrustLens project funded by the EPSRC TIPS programme.

For more information, please contact Dr. Naomi Jacobs