How LoRaWAN powers up smart cities of tomorrow today

featured image caldas da rainha


How LoRaWAN powers up smart cities of tomorrow today

July 4, 2019 | written by ALAYKKA FOWLER

Gone were the days when “smart cities” only existed in films and stories.

smart cities with lorawan connectivity

Today, cities all over the world feel the immense pressure to transform into the cities of tomorrow and for sound reasons. City planning and construction affect the way everything around it operates, including their citizens’ way and quality of life. As resources become scarcer and facilities outdated, governments globally are taking different measures to address these issues and adjust to evolving demands.

Now, cities are leaning more towards a data-centric approach to solve various issues. Moreover, this is also to improve services and living environment for their citizens. For this reason, more of them are installing connected devices where data is crucial, e.g. parking spaces, trash bins, and utility systems. However, the challenge lies within having the right type of connectivity for optimum data gathering and service delivery as one type varies from another.


LoRaWAN for smart cities

When it comes to digitally transforming cities, the usual LTE or WiFi connectivity alone is not enough. In fact, there is a rising problem in the limited data spectrum that the world has today as urban areas become densely populated. This increasing strain on networks and network signals’ difficulty in penetrating enclosed structures and underground areas is a major obstacle in developing connected cities.

Additionally, for massively deployed sensors to work, the network they should be running on has to be dependable, secure, and sustainable in the long run. Unfortunately, this can mean having to face extremely high costs. However, where there are problems, there will always be solutions.

Thanks to LoRaWAN connectivity, cities can now address these challenges.

When the smart devices of cities operate on LoRaWAN, connectivity is reliable and requires low investment costs. This type of connectivity is ideal for facilities that do not involve large packets of data, like water and electricity meters and public transportation. 

actility smart cities

What’s even more interesting is its ability to penetrate densely enclosed places, such as concrete buildings and underground areas. This is something that most mobile data connections cannot do alone (and if they can, it can be really costly).

LoRaWAN is ideal for cities because it is a horizontal, open standard-based platform that does not require individually implementing multiple proprietary technologies. This means that it can accommodate all kinds of vertical use cases, whether it’s water, energy, or street lighting, without needing to deploy numerous infrastructures that are specific for each one. As a result, cities do not have to invest in different silo-based infrastructures achieving significant cost savings and efficient service delivery at the same time.

As the years go by, more cities are turning to LoRaWAN-based solutions either as an initial layer to their digital transformation projects or to complement their already existing internet connectivity.

Caldas da Rainha: Making Queen Leonor Proud

From what started off as Queen Leonor’s thermal town in the 15th century, the city of Caldas da Rainha in Portugal has understood what it means to be a city of the future.

With its recent deployment of Cisco’s LoRa technology solutions powered by Actility’s ThingPark Enterprise, the city now has a better view of their water, waste management, parking, and traffic flow systems. Because of this, Caldas da Rainha can manage their different public infrastructures and facilities better. Consequently, this allows them to monitor the health and performance of these facilities and perform appropriate actions to resolve any issues that they find making them a truly intelligent city.

Installing sensors in the different areas of the city allows Caldas da Rainha to generate and gather real-time data which they transmit over the Actility and Cisco LoRaWAN infrastructure. Afterwards, the command and supervision center will receive these pieces of information on the various applications that they use. For example, through their water facility sensors, they were able to detect leaks in the system which they promptly addressed. On the other hand, the connected devices enabled them to manage the parking and traffic flow of their bus system and run garbage collection more effectively.

By equipping themselves with the right technology and enabling themselves to carry out informed actions, Caldas da Rainha can better protect its investments for its people. At the same time, they can also maximize the benefits that they will get out of these. These will ultimately allow them to serve and take care of their citizens better.

LoRaWAN is of the essence

In this connected world, having the right type of connectivity is crucial to ensure high quality data collection and service rendering. For smart cities, connections need to be complementary. As high-speed mobile connections address the needs of individual consumers, macro-level stakeholders, such as industrial companies and the government should take advantage of LoRaWAN in their operations and services.

Leveraging on LoRaWAN connectivity is an essential layer to developing smart cities. As a low-cost, long-range, highly pervasive, and sustainable solution, LoRaWAN is definitely one of the keys to unlock the potentials of intelligent cities.

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Adrien Doré launches BPI France Energy conference

Actility Energy speech with Adrien Doré speaker

The Actility Blog

Adrien Doré launches BPI France Energy conference

Adrien Doré, France Manager at Actility Energy, was pleased to introduce the 20th TOTEM event organized by the Hub BPI France and the French Electricity Union (UFE) with an opening speech on « The Digital: game changer of the energy transition? »

In his speech, Adrien spoke about the role of new technologies and especially of digital in the energy sector, explaining the concept of the « Digital Twin » as a key element in the energy transition. Many changes such as emerging renewables energies and new electric uses in our consumption result in a more complex energy sector. It is necessary to modelize the many data changes involved in a digital twin to quickly determine the optimal flexibility solutions.

Actility, an innovative leader thanks to its forward-looking DNA, develops « Digital Twins » of the French electric network to foster flexibility solutions while ensuring the security of energy supply.

You can find Adrien’s full speech (in French) by clicking on the following link:

Adrien Doré lance le 20ème TOTEM

Adrien Doré, directeur France d’Actility Energy, a eu le plaisir de lancer le 20ème TOTEM organisé par le Hub BPI France et L’union Française de l’Electricité avec un discours d’ouverture sur « le Digital : game changer de la transition énergétique ? ».

Lors de son intervention, Adrien Doré a pu particulièrement introduire le rôle des nouvelles technologies et du digital en particulier dans le secteur de l’énergie en expliquant le concept de « Digital Twin » et de son rôle déterminant dans la transition énergétique. Les changements induits par l’émergence des énergies renouvelables et de nouveaux usages dans notre consommation d’électricité complexifient le secteur de l’énergie. Or il est nécessaire de modéliser ces multiples données du monde réel dans un jumeau virtuel pour déterminer rapidement de nouvelles solutions de flexibilité optimales.

Actility, leader de l’innovation grâce à son ADN prospectif, développe des « Digital Twin » du réseau électrique français pour favoriser les solutions de flexibilité tout en assurant la sécurité d’approvisionnement.

Vous pouvez retrouver l’intégralité de la présentation d’Adrien Doré à cet événement en cliquant sur le lien suivant:

Cedric presents at the French Electricity Union (UFE) annual conference

UFE logo

The Actility Blog

Cedric presents at the French Electricity Union (UFE) annual conference

UFE logo

Thursday, November 29th, at the annual conference of the French Electricity Union (UFE), Cedric de Jonghe, Europe Manager, was honored to be invited to introduce Actility Energy during a round table on the topic of transformation and cooperation in the energy sector.

Actility, a flexibility aggregator for 8 years, has developed suitable flexibility solutions to enable its partners to participate in all services keeping the electric network balance. Thanks to these collaborations, custom technical and operational innovations are being brought, like Actility’s joint effort with the operator Orange: Actility has invested into the telecommunication network’s security batteries, which were until now only expensive assets, to turn them into flexibility and profitable assets, maintaining their original use and function.

Cedric mentioned the importance of cross innovation. As an innovative scale up, Actility Energy partners with companies in the water industry like Veolia to apply Data analytics and valuation expertise. Also, in the domain of Blockchain, Cedric emphasized the cutting edge project with the Belgian grid operator Elia.

Cedric présente au colloque annuel de l’UFE

Jeudi 29 novembre, au colloque annuel de L’Union Française de l’Electricité, Cedric De Jonghe, directeur Europe, a eu l’honneur d’être invité à présenter Actility Energy lors d’une table ronde organisée sur la thématique des transformations et de la coopération dans le secteur de l’énergie.

Actility, agrégateur de flexibilité depuis 8 ans, développe des solutions de flexibilité adaptées pour permettre à ses partenaires de participer à l’ensemble des services d’équilibre du réseau électrique. De ces collaborations naissent des innovations technologiques et opérationnelles réalisées sur-mesure, tel le partenariat avec l’opérateur Orange : Actility a su investir dans les batteries de sécurité du réseau de télécommunication, qui étaient jusqu’alors des actifs coûteux, pour les transformer en actifs de flexibilité rémunérateurs tout en maintenant leur utilité et fonction originelle.

Cedric a également souligné l’importance des innovations transverses. En tant qu’impulseur d’innovations de grande envergure, Actility Energy a entrepris de collaborer avec des compagnies du secteur de l’eau telle Veolia en lui proposant son expertise en analyse et évaluation de données. De même, dans le domaine de la blockchain, Cedric a évoqué les projets d’avant-garde entrepris avec le gestionnaire de réseaux belge Elia.

Actility’s night at the museum

Actility Operator Forum

The Actility Blog

Actility’s night at the museum

Actility Operator Forum

The first Actility Operator Forum in Paris on the 29th and 30th of November 2018 saw over 50 global network operators and 100 customers or partners join Actility, at the invitation of CEO and Founder Olivier Hersent, to celebrate the growth of the ThingPark LoRaWAN® ecosystem and to share success stories, feedback, and best practice.

As a global leader in LoRaWAN solutions and a founding member of the LoRa Alliance(™), the Actility team and our partners have a lot to celebrate as LPWA technology is adopted globally at an ever-increasing rate. 

After a day hearing about the best in IoT technology, the maturity of LoRaWAN, and operators’ readiness for multi-country roaming, we wanted to share with our guests the very best our home city of Paris had to offer, and where better than with a very special private after-hours tour of the Louvre?

With almost 7000 square meters of gallery space displaying tens of thousands of history’s greatest artworks and antiquities, the Louvre is the largest museum in the world, and with over eight million visitors per year, it’s also one of the most popular. Want to avoid having to rub shoulders with thousands of people while you’re enjoying this global treasure-house? You should have come to Actility sooner!

Our tour guide explained that the Louvre is home to more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments. For our tour, she selected the most captivating rooms and most notable works of art like the Mona Lisa, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, the Coronation of Napoleon, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo.

With no one else around, we had the time and space to thoroughly admire the stunning building and interiors with their echoing hallways, multicolored marble floors, elaborate plaster moldings, sweeping staircases, and above our heads, the spectacularly painted ceilings.

The Louvre is vast, and every square meter above, around and underfoot is beautiful! There are entire wings dedicated to decorative arts, French paintings, Italian masterpieces, and more, and we had the pleasure of touring a “greatest hits” selection thanks to Actility and the inaugural Actility Operator Forum.

The tour was followed by a reception in The Café Richelieu in the Mollien Pavilion, close to Napoleon’s former apartments. From the first-floor terrace, guests could take in the views of the Eiffel Tower, Le Cour Napoleon, and the Louvre pyramids while sipping champagne and feasting on Chef’s finest canapés.

The evening, and the entire Actility Operator Forum, were a huge success, with nothing but enthusiastic responses from our guests! The only problem is how on earth do we provide an even more memorable experience for our customers and partners next year? The bar has truly been set high. 

Ms Moore: The LoRa Alliance’s New CEO Shares Her Vision

The Actility Blog

Ms Moore: The LoRa Alliance’s New CEO Shares Her Vision

Donna Moore is CEO and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance since March 2018.

Actility: As you’re joining the Alliance, where does it stand? How do you see its achievements so far?

Donna Moore: Let’s start with a warm thank you: Actility has been a very strong presence within the Alliance!

To answer your question, I’m so excited to take this role and be in a position to work with the board and members. If you look at the lifecycle of alliances, the LoRa Alliance is far ahead: it has reached 500 members within only three years and has so many real-world use cases and implementations! Now, we’re at a point where end users are achieving ROI, cost savings, and operational efficiencies. It’s phenomenal to see all of this happening so quickly. A lot of this has to do with the diverse ecosystem within the Alliance and its size.  

“If you look at the history of IoT, it’s very complex to implement true Internet of Things where all devices are connecting and sharing data and ability to create meaningful change.”

Each member brings something very specific to the ecosystem, and implementations are taking place all over the world. That’s really unheard of!

Actility: How do you assess the LoRaWAN footprint today? Are cultural differences impacting adoption and implementation?

Donna Moore: We are a global alliance that focuses on understanding regional differences.

“What differs from one region to another, for example, are government agencies and implementations.”

As a matter of fact, I get emails every day from members all around the world telling me about their new implementations and new verticals. We do have regional vice presidents that report to the board and deal with regional government agencies to oversee implementations. As we move forward, our priority is both to support LoRa Alliance members as a whole on a global basis, but also regionally. We’re seeing a lot of regional requests for support from the LoRa Alliance for regional engagement, but it’s everywhere: Asia, Europe, North America, and most recently South Africa, Oman in the Middle-East… it’s really worldwide!

Actility: What is your strategic direction for the Alliance?

Donna Moore: I want to continue building on this exceptional momentum! We want to stay open to other verticals as well as to the needs of the market. The board is working on a strategic roadmap for the Alliance as well as a technical roadmap. As an Alliance, our top three areas of focus are:

Prioritization: there’s so much going on at the moment in the Alliance, so the board is very keen to prioritize and execute;

Strategic alliances: no single organization can capture the IoT market, it really is about partnerships and ecosystem development. For IoT to succeed, these partnerships are needed to create, develop and expand the market.

Certification: Based on my strong certification background with the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), I know that it is key to ensuring interoperability, particularly as devices scale to the billions. As LoRa Alliance members see their devices enter the market, we need to have a strong certification program to ensure devices are manufactured to the LoRaWAN specification.

“What I love about IoT is that it works globally and truly does require collaboration with many partners. That’s one of the key reasons why the LoRa Alliance has been so successful so quickly.” 

Actility: Talking about the DLNA, what are the key takeaways you bring from the DLNA Alliance on the lifecycle and challenges of alliances?

Donna Moore: DLNA was the first IoT group to achieve success. It started in 2003 and has now over 4 billion devices in the market. The alliance achieved its goals in terms of developing the specification, and even today its certification program is still running through a third-party.

“I bring to the LoRa Alliance the experience of successfully leading an alliance through its full lifecycle and achieving worldwide market adoption in the IoT, backed by a solid certification program.”

Actility: What do you think of the multiple certification layers (LoRa Alliance, MNO, technology provider…) today available for the LoRaWAN technology?

Donna Moore: Well, there are a lot of layers of certifications and it can be confusing for device and sensor developers. My personal experience is that when you have several layers to go through, it can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming. My goal is to look for a way to make the LoRa Alliance the single body that meets all the needs of this ecosystem.

“Because LoRaWAN sensors are inexpensive and developers are often startups or mid-market companies, they struggle to pay for extensive certification. We are currently evaluating our certification program to find the right balance of testing, pricing, and outcome.”

Actility: You’re the first female leader of the Alliance, how you see diversity and female representation in tech evolving?

Donna Moore: First of all, it’s an honor to be the first CEO and chairwoman! Fundamentally, my nomination means that the Alliance understands the importance of diversity, which encompasses experience, education, leadership, problem-solving… Because of my background, I bring another viewpoint in IoT to the LoRa Alliance.  

“I’m able to put myself in the shoes of the end-user and think about the alliance and technology from a business perspective, which helps to understand what it means when it’s implemented in the real world.”

To take a concrete example, in the DLNA everything was technically complex. DLNA was primarily for home networks. In its early stage, you had to be a technical person to understand this technology. The role of diversity, in this case, was to help make things easier for consumers at home who were not necessarily early adopters. Now the good thing about LoRaWAN is that it is so easy to understand, this is a big part of why this technology is being adopted so quickly! An end user doesn’t have to be an expert to understand how to get all of the devices to work together and communicate, they’re able to simply experience the value.

Actility: It’s great to see how positive you are about LoRaWAN and the Alliance! What do you say to people who argue that IoT market is not taking up as fast as it should? How do you reassure the Alliance members about business expectations? Why do so many users start to pilots?

Donna Moore: Everything you just mentioned is right. If we look at the IoT when it first came on the radar, everyone was very excited, there was a lot of hype, but after a few years, the industry started to wonder about the ROI, the ecosystem wonders why adoption isn’t picking up as fast as they expected…. It’s absolutely normal at this stage of its development. The reality is that within the LoRa Alliance, there are a lot of implementations taking place, with a lot of activity taking place outside of the limelight.  

“This is how you get to the next stage, which is the hockey stick: large companies start rolling out and you begin to see massive adoption.”

Take Comcast’s Machine Q announcing a major roll-out in 30 cities in the US. What you have to remember is that our current phase is all part of the technology life cycle. The LoRa Alliance is in a strong position and our members will soon reap the benefits of broad market adoption and scale far beyond the uses cases that have been demonstrated to date.