Eruption Disruption! Predicting Volcanic Events with Libelium’s David Gascón

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In this episode of First Things First, I dive-deep – both analytically and volcanically – with David Gascón, CTO and Co-Founder of Libelium, a company that designs and manufactures hardware technology for the implementation of wireless sensor networks. David talks about what it was like developing an IoT device built to be placed anywhere- including the inside of a volcano.

The Story:
Libelium Works with Other Organizations to Develop a Life-Saving IoT Application

David brings us one of the most exciting IoT stories out there about collecting data from inside of a volcano. He discusses the process of designing and testing an application built for one of earth’s most volatile environments and offers his advice on choosing the right sensors for your IoT application.

The Lesson:
Choosing the Right Sensors Can Make or Break Your IoT Application

David’s story highlights some important lessons when it comes to developing IoT applications:

  • It pays to get it right the first time. Taking time to find the right IoT sensors for your application before you start developing the application helps you save time and money while avoiding failure.
  • You don’t need in-house IoT expertise. With excellent IoT partner companies, not having in-house IoT expertise is no longer an excuse for not being able to develop impactful IoT applications.
  • Think carefully about the IoT partner company you work with. Work with an IoT vendor that can provide you with the right sensors, not necessarily the cheapest sensors, so that you can develop an application that’s built to last.
David Gascon - Libelium

About Our Guest: David Gascón

David Gascón is the Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Libelium. Previously, he worked as a professor at the Engineering University of Zaragoza in Spain. MIT awarded him with the TR35 prize in 2012 as the most important innovator under 35 in Spain. In 2014, he and Alicia Asin (co-founder of Libelium) won the National Young Entrepreneur Award given by the King and Queen of Spain.

You can find David on LinkedIn and Twitter.

For more information about Libelium, visit

Show Notes

Don’t miss some of this episode’s memorable moments:

0:35 – Meet David Gascón and learn more about what Libelium does.

5:20 – David explains why it was so important for Libelium to offer robust products.

7:45 – Discover the story behind a unique IoT project that David and the Libelium team worked on, built to gather data from volcanic craters.

12:37 –David talks more about designing for one of the harshest environments on earth – the inside of a volcano!

14:42 – David discusses how Libelium worked together with other organizations to help the Nicaraguan people who were under the shadow of this volcano.

15:41 – Chris and David talk more about the technology and network structure for this project.

19:48 – David reveals what was important to Libelium and what role their software played in ensuring they had created a successful IoT application.

25:15 – Discover the key takeaways from David’s story and how you can apply it to your own IoT applications.

27:01 – Learn why it’s vital to choose the right sensors for your IoT application.29:00 – Chris wraps up the episode and tells listeners where they can find David and Libellium.


“When I started with IoT for this company, I knew that I could face many different projects. And this is one of the most amazing things about IoT. It can cover any of the applications, projects, verticals in the world.”

“When we were there, you could see the people’s faces looking at you, the people that are living in the closest village to the volcano. And you could see that they knew that you were there to help them… It was a really beautiful moment, even for our engineers that are spending most of the time in the laboratory. You never know when you’ll have the chance to see something like that.”

“This is an emergency network. This is a network that cannot really fail… Consistency and having several ways of sending information was really important for us because if you are getting high levels of this gas, it can be maybe in five or ten minutes, and you have to react really quickly for that. So you have to make sure that you can get information in real time.”

“We just want to inspire new potential people from different verticals or applications to just use the IoT to improve on innovating in their own fields.”

Additional Resources

About Our Sponsor

First Things First is sponsored by Telit, a global provider of wireless connectivity modules, platforms, IoT operator services and professional services. Telit supports thousands of direct and indirect customers by enabling hundreds of millions of connected ‘things.’ With almost two decades of IoT innovation experience, Telit delivers secure, integrated end-to-end IoT solutions for many of the world’s largest brands, including enterprises, OEMs, system integrators, and service providers across industries.