ER Telecom turns to LoRaWAN to accelerate digital transformation in Russia


ER Telecom turns to LoRaWAN to accelerate digital transformation in Russia

Digitization is an absolute priority in Russia and IoT is an obvious way to start for companies and municipalities.

Victor Ratnikov, VP Innovation B2B and IoT

Second biggest
Telco in Russia

Fastest growing telecommunication company in Russia

800 billion rubles
Volume of the Russian IoT market by 2022

End customer



Accelerate digitization with a widespread IoT communication solution

Last September, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the city of Perm. After shaking hands with a meet-and-greet robot and learning about blockchain software being developed locally, the President spent some time with Actility customer and partner ER-Telecom Holding, discovering how the company is powering Russia’s digital transformation with the deployment of cutting-edge network technology, including extensive optical fibre to the home for consumers, and a state of the art LoRaWAN to accelerate the adoption of industrial IoT. The President’s visit underscored just how central the role of comprehensive digital infrastructure will be in transforming industries and the economy across the whole vast country of Russia.

For ERTH, the IoT represents an early business opportunity and a powerful catalyst for industrial transformation. “Digitization is an absolute priority in Russia and IoT is an obvious way to start for companies and municipalities. Our job is to bring this technology in an easy-to-consume way anywhere in the Russian Federation, and globally with our roaming agreements.” Says Victor Ratnikov, VP Innovation B2B, and IoT, ER-Telecom Holding. ERTH sees a clear need for rapid and affordable digitization for companies and institutions, with opportunities to improve P&L, create new revenue streams, and optimize their business models.

Russia offers a unique environment for IoT connectivity compared to densely populated European countries, because of the sheer size of the Russian Federation and its sparsely-populated or empty areas where there is no GSM mobile network coverage – although these areas can still be home to industries such as mining, oil & gas production or logging. In addition, there is a specific requirement to store and process all data within Russian borders to comply with national data protection regulations.


A dedicated ThingPark platform to cover the Federation’s specific needs

Searching for an IoT communication solution that is easy to deploy, offers long -orange coverage and the lowest total cost of ownership, ERTH was quick to recognize the benefits of LoRaWAN, and chose to work with Actility, based on the company’s existing track record in powering over half of all the national scale LPWA networks deployed by operators globally. “The agreement signed between ER-Telecom Holding and Actility is an important step in building a federal IoT coverage”, says Andrey Kuzyaev, the President of ER-Telecom Holding.

ERTH has already purchased and deployed 700 gateways, and completed radio planning for the network in the initial phase of roll-out encompassing 50 cites. By mid-July 2018, 50 cities will be deployed with full outdoors coverage and some deep indoor. The roll-out plan is to offer complete coverage of 62 cities by the end of 2018, all with over 300,000 m inhabitants. “We have completed testing the LoRaWAN coverage in half a dozen dense urban areas and we are very impressed with the penetration performance, providing deep indoor coverage.”

ERTH also has begun dozens of pilot projects with a variety of customers across many industries, especially in oil & gas, energy, and logistics.

To meet the regulatory requirements and offer the best service for ERTH’s customers, at the end of 2017, Actility deployed a local ThingPark platform in a Moscow data center in, which is scaled to process messages from of tens of millions of end devices and deliver the data to customers or cloud applications hosted by the platform.


Walking the talk of digital transformation

The Russian ecosystem is burgeoning rapidly. Today, there is a shortage of localized devices using the dedicated radio frequencies for LoRaWAN in Russia, but according to ERTH, there are enough to begin PoCs. ER-Telecom Holding is working with local and global partners to address this issue. Many IoT start-ups are beginning to emerge to join the Russian IoT and LoRaWAN ecosystem and ERTH will open a dedicated developer portal for Russia with the help of Actility. “Actility is not only supporting ERTH with its network roll-out, but it will also offer IoT expertise to Russian customers as well as lead the development of a Russian LoRaWAN ecosystem.” Felix Marnin, Actility

ER-Telecom Holding is also transforming itself and creating new business in the process. The company is developing own products and platform for SMEs offering a building management utility. “We want to become an IoT business“, says Victor Ratnikov. “In technology, there’s no one size fits all. We are not focused on technology, but on our customers, their businesses, and how our solutions can help them transform.”

Learn how ThingPark can help you boost your digital transformation

Connected reindeer pave the way for improved herders’ lives


Connected reindeer pave the way for improved herders’ lives

This IoT application is about using technology to help keep our traditions going in years to come.

Matti Särkelä, Head of Office

36% of Finland
reindeer husbandry area

animals herded each year

of the herds go missing


A race against natural elements to find missing animals

Reindeer herding is a three-century-old Finnish tradition that still thrives in Lapland. “Reindeer herding to produce meat, furs, and antlers is one of the most traditional ways of living for us in Lapland”, explains Matti Särkelä. “But it is also crucial for the economy since tourism is booming in the region.” Reindeer are big business in the region, with up to 300,000 animals herded each year, generating around €25m.

Matti has been the Reindeer Herders’ representative in Rovaniemi since 1999.  He is responsible for “developing technologies and all kinds of initiatives that help reindeer herders”. Their activity is a way of life, not just a job since semi-wild animals roam freely most of the year. Growing up in herders’ family, Matti knows it as well as any herder.

Jarno Konttaniemi is a member of the Palojärvi cooperative near Rovaniemi. He has made a living as a herder for 15 years, sometimes walking up to 40 km a day to protect his animals from predators – bears, wolves, eagles, wolverines and lynxes-, and from road and railroad traffic. Still, up to 10% of herds go missing each year, of which only ⅕ can be found.

This is a problem, because the Finnish government offers financial compensation to herders like Jarno if he can produce evidence that the animal has been killed. Here comes the tricky part: what is the right technology to

  • track and locate roaming animals across 120,000 km2;
  • implement in a rural area with limited GSM coverage and GPS accuracy;
  • offer cheap and comfortable sensors able to withstand harsh winter conditions.

“The previous GSM-based solutions required energy-hungry trackers, their batteries making them both large and heavy thus uncomfortable for the animals. Even then, the devices could send only one location per day. Which is a problem because during winter, herders only have a few hours to find a missing reindeer until its track on the ground gets covered by snow.”

Ari Kuukka, Director, Head IoT Services, Digita Oy


The power of LoRaWAN combined with GPS

Matti and his peers are never short of ideas when it comes to innovation with technology! The Association’s journey started over ten years ago, using GPS and GSM solutions. It continued three years ago with a smartphone app called “Porokello” (reindeer bell in Finnish) warning drivers of the presence of reindeer near the road.

In 2017, the herders contacted Digita Oy, the main national broadcast services provider, to help them equip animals with cheaper, smaller and lighter trackers, that also have year-long-lasting batteries to cover the time between two roundups. Challenge accepted by Digita!

As a matter of fact, at the end of 2016, the operator Digita started rolling out its nationwide LoRaWAN network using Actility’s ThingPark platform. Gateways were mounted on the company’s existing television 300 meter-high masts to achieve very long-range coverage.

“Digita is building a LoRaWAN network to provide services for several business sectors in Finland ranging from housing to logistics or air quality monitoring. There is big demand for this kind of low-power, wide-area technology.”

Ari Kuukka, Digita Oy


The most challenging use case in Finland


The pilot study began in June 2017 with a few tens of trackers being installed on selected animals at the bi-annual round-up in October. The trackers use GPS satellite signals to determine their location, but communicate that location to Digita’s gateways over low power LoRaWAN. This maximizes the battery life and reduces costs since there’s no need for cellular subscriptions for every device.

During the first phase of this pilot, lasting until next summer, Ari and his team are assessing what network technologies they need for this use case. They are also testing partner devices that can withstand harsh winter conditions. “Once we have successfully evaluated the technology, we will most likely extend the pilot to larger volumes, customizing the solution to be even more comfortable, compact and light for the animals to wear”, says Ari Kuukka.

In terms of technology, Ari is also convinced that the next step is to combine LoRaWAN and GPS into a solution tailored to the herders’ needs. Reindeer tracking in Lapland is one of the most challenging LoRaWAN use cases imaginable:

“If we manage to track reindeers in Lapland, it means that we can track virtually anything!”

Mika Flinck,  IoT services Sales Director at Digita.

Watch this space to learn more about new tracking solutions inspired by the reindeer herders of Rovaniemi!

A Smart Response To a Slovenian Shopping Mall’s High Energy Costs


A Smart Response To a Slovenian Shopping Mall’s High Energy Costs

Energy management is an economic necessity.

Tomaž Damjan, Energy Manager, BTC City

470,000 square meters
Area of BTC City

60 million kWH/year
Total energy consumption

of total budget
Energy costs

End customer

BTC City


A Shopping Center The Size of a City

BTC City Ljubljana is one of the largest business, shopping, entertainment, recreation and cultural centers in Europe, located just three kilometers from Ljubljana city center and 200m from the Ljubljana ring road. It is considered a must-visit destination by city residents and tourists.

Due to the large number of facilities, wide area, high consumption of electricity, water and heating, BTC’s energy needs are comparable to those of urban centers.

“Energy management is an economic necessity,” says Tomaž Damjan, Energy Manager at BTC City.

In a bid to reduce energy consumption and costs as well as subsequent CO2 emissions, BTC sought to implement an energy management (EM) system for its multi-purpose facilities, such as those used by Smart Cities, and in line with the ISO 50001 standard, aimed at supporting organizations to conserve resources and tackle climate change.  

BTC turned to Solvera Lynx, the region’s leading provider of comprehensive energy management solutions, to help devise their own system to monitor and reduce energy consumption.

Specialists from Solvera Lynx described the key to greater efficiency and energy management coordination was to provide BTC City with “systematic control” over energy consumption.

“Due to the large number of BTC facilities, it was important to control the consumption of individual energy products and monitor consumption by individual end-users,” explained Janez Klančnik, Project and Energy Manager at Solvera Lynx. “BTC needed tools that allowed the easy collection of data, performance analysis and production of automated reports.”


Applying Smart City Energy Management Tools

Solvera Lynx set several objectives for implementing their Smart City EM solutions:

  • To gain remote control over energy consumption
  • To implement an alarm system
  • To define and analyze key energy efficiency indicators in real time
  • To introduce an energy accounting system with a clear, transparent view of energy use
  • To provide a tool for employees to carry out relevant and efficient energy management activities

To achieve these objectives for BTC, Solvera Lynx had four types of communication equipment in mind: GsmBox.WG, ComBox.MComBox.L and GsmBox.X4. These wireless, long-range sensors utilize LoRaWAN technology to send data to GemaLogic, an advanced energy management software platform.


The idea was to connect and deploy this network of sensors and communication equipment throughout the entire BTC City, digitizing utility meters that could then send data on electricity, heat, natural gas and water consumption from all facilities to the GemaLogic software, where energy managers could constantly gather, process and analyze the data and produce automated reports.

Deploying a network of indoor/outdoor sensors requires a special communication technology to overcome a variety of obstacles. LoRaWAN was the natural choice and Actility supported the Solvera Lynx team on its use.

To easily understand the benefits of LoRaWAN-enabled sensors, it is useful to compare it to WiFi, the commonly known indoor, wireless networking technology. Covering the wide area of BTC City would require dozens of WiFi access points, whereas only two LoRaWAN gatewayswere needed. With LoRaWAN, BTC City was able to set up its own private network within a week.

In addition, the battery life of LoRaWAN-powered sensors is much higher—5 to 8 years on average.

The most exciting aspect for Klančnik was observing the small time intervals of sending data from normally inaccessible places.

“Once we connected the meters in the water shafts to the ComBox.L devices, we could receive data on water consumption every 15 minutes. Before, that was not possible and water leakages were not detected in time,” said Klančnik.

This was just the tip of the iceberg.


Steep Reduction in Costs and Consumption

Once Solvera Lynx implemented the network, deployed the sensors and connected them to the GemaLogic platform, results were instantly observed.

For example, once the energy data was digitized, energy managers could immediately start monitoring and analysis in real time, and start benchmarking and forecasting. Solvera Lynx EM solutions also include an alarm system that can detect deviations in consumption, such as those caused by a water leakage, alerting the managers for a quick response. EM systems can be improved over time and the easy monitoring leads to taking effective measures to continuously increase BTC City’s efficient consumption of energy.

In fact, after one year of implementing Solvera Lynx’s EM system, BTC City has reduced its energy consumption by 5%. Even more staggering, BTC City has observed that before, water loss was measured at 40%, whereas after the EM solutions were installed, that figure plummeted to 4.5%. Moreover, early detection of equipment defects, such as in air-conditioning units, has led to replacement of parts that have cut electricity consumption by half!

In the past year BTC has invested massively in its infrastructure to guarantee and maintain the highest level of efficiency for its operations. The company has a strong environmental strategy and is dedicated to optimizing and reducing water leakages and energy consumption, serving an example of sustainability on a national level.
With all the measures the BTC energy team have introduced they have reached successful results – in the last 10 years of constant monitoring and improving they have reduced water leakages up to 20% ”

The system has paid-off,” said Tomaž Damjan, Energy Manager at BTC City. “We will continue using the GemaLogic energy management platform.”

Meanwhile, the case study has also been a major win for the collaboration between Solvera Lynx and Actility, according to the former’s Toni Žužek.

We really appreciate the timely and professional support from Actility’s experts,” said Žužek. “They helped meet our needs and strategic milestones, as well as plan and organize more effective sales and marketing activities in order to promote our advanced EM software and hardware solutions.”


Guarantee traceability throughout the disposal chain

Recycling bins throughout Dutch cities provide clear evidence of this successful IoT implementation. A sensor placed in each bin signals to collectors when it is full. As a result, waste vehicle collection routes can be optimized to reduce cost, traffic, and pollution.  The same solution is deployed in public places such as airports and train stations. The cleaners are informed when trash bins need to be emptied, improving the workload and efficiency of the cleaning staff. In both cases, IoT brings a higher quality of service and well-being for everyone.

Suez is also connecting waste collection trucks, equipped with load sensors. Treatment facilities are informed almost in real-time of the amount of trash expected from each truck. LPWA technologies ensure that even in complex city environments and at long distances in the countryside the trucks remain connected, improving their operation and streamlining the process. Optimal visibility and control of waste management are particularly critical when collecting hazardous waste: knowing exactly how much waste has been collected is a key tool in optimizing the treatment phase. For companies dealing with industrial waste, Suez’ IoT innovations help improve collection and especially guarantees traceability throughout the disposal chain.

Some cities are encouraging their homeowners to sort their waste by installing smart bins in individual homes. These bins weigh the amount of litter received, allowing for per usage consumer billing. This incentive-based program encourages everyone to be proactive and responsible in their personal behaviors.

Suez is proud to lead the waste management revolution to make it more:

  • circular since it aims to regenerate resources essential to life
  • concrete in so far as it involves tangible and innovative actions securing resources
  • collaborative: it engages every contributor to better manage resources for the future.


You can download the case studies here

Veolia uses ThingPark Energy to monetize its flexible capacity through Demand Response


Veolia uses ThingPark Energy to monetize its flexible capacity through Demand Response

Thanks to Actility's expertise in Energy Management and Demand Response, we extract value from our flexibility as an industrial company

Christophe Lepoutre, Vice President Energy and Sub-Contracting Procurement, Veolia

11.34 M€
for revenues in the water sector, and for water supply

100 million
people supplied in water

5.5 billions m3
of water supplied annually

End customer



Improve the efficiency and automated control of pumping stations and reservoirs

Veolia Water is a leading global operator of water services. They provide delegated management of freshwater and wastewater services for municipal and industrial clients by handling every step in the water cycle. Energy consumption is involved during the whole process, from the pumping of water to the treatment process and distribution via the network. Electricity purchase represents an important expenditure for Veolia. More than 80% of it is used for pumping and aeration. Typically, pumping stations pay electricity at a fixed rate, with limited price differences between peak and off-peak hours. However, prices on the electricity market show a much larger variation. This creates opportunities for flexible consumers like Veolia to optimize their large storage capacities (water tanks) and a high number of flexible electrical devices with short activation times (pumps, valves, aerators…)

Encouraged by an increase in water production and environmental challenges, the company chose Actility’s platform ThingPark Energy to improve the efficiency of its pumping stations and treatment plants. Actility brings its real-time optimization algorithms to model the complex water processes. Electrical devices are remotely controlled, taking into account fluctuating energy prices.
The final operational plan is scheduled to minimize the overall cost of electricity while ensuring that operational limits are never violated. Moreover, Actility drives additional revenues for occasional grid balancing, considering real-time price opportunities and reacting to Demand Response requests from the grid operator (TSO).


Operational assistance and estimated gains

Actility’s ThingPark Energy Platform makes use of high-performance data analytics tools. The predictive modeling capability allows to respond automatically and in optimal ways to unplanned situations. The operational plan is updated automatically respecting process constraints. This provides significant support to on-call operation teams.

The same prediction capabilities, combining with the operational monitoring, can detect failures and mobilize human experts as soon as such issues are detected. This enhances the process and business KPIs. Actility brings a strong understanding of information management systems.

This allows seamless integration between the ThingPark Energy solutions for energy process optimization and Veolia’s existing management system, using specific data collection and communication. Actility rolled out a highly redundant and secure VPN between Veolia’s server and ThingPark Energy, ensuring a transparent solution.

Finally, Veolia’s water management system is turned into a Smart Water Solution. After validation by Veolia, ThingPark Energy optimizes the operations and benefits from electricity market opportunities and fully integrates Automated Demand-Response to the energy management system so that Demand Response activations neither involve Veolia’s on-site operators nor challenge the global production.


Leveraging the flexibility of the plant

Energy Process Modeling is one of the ThingPark Energy’s solutions controlling multiple sites using predictive modeling to determine each site’s optimal load curve. The whole portfolio of sites is then globally optimized, with the sites responding to the commands sent by ThingPark Energy to their local controllers (e.g. local PLCs). This solution is reliable and highly scalable, allowing Actility to support Veolia in many countries in their transition to Smart Water management with minimum investments in monitoring and control systems.

Actility’s solution for Energy Process Optimization and Automated Demand Response offers multiple benefits to Veolia Water:

• Delivering additional revenues with Automated Demand Response

• Monitoring smart electricity consumption and detecting abnormalities in the process actively contributing to improved security of electricity supply and CO2 emission reduction

• Relieving basic workload of operational team, allowing to focus on special issues


Actility works together with the industrials to collect data and gain insight regarding operational limits. The industrial process is modeled and if necessary, the station is equipped with meters and communication devices, even if this is a source of CAPEX increase for the project.


Technical diagram

BeitMisk, Lebanon Paves the Way to Smart Cities In the Middle-East


BeitMisk, Lebanon Paves the Way to Smart Cities In the Middle-East

Turning a city smart is a journey

Marc Nader, Chief Operating Officer, Data Consult

655,000 meters²
People benefit from the Group’s waste collection services

6-900 meters
altitude of village

1,800 units
of apartments, villas and townhouses


Introducing Lebanon’s New IoT Network

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications and Ogero Telecomhave been busy rolling out a nationwide IoT network, a project they aim to complete by the end of 2017.

The country recognizes the potential benefits of IoT to industry, agriculture, healthcare, urban planning, exportation, etc. Increased efficiency, competitiveness and resource management will all result from the precision and data provided by M2M connectivity and, more specifically, LoRaWAN technology. Meanwhile, partners are already beginning to implement solutions within a variety of sectors and end-customers are seeing the results. Several partners have converged at BeitMisk to create Lebanon’s first Smart City. 

The village BeitMisk is a 655,000 square-meter residential community, set several hundred meters high in the Metn hilltops above Beirut. Selected as a partner in transforming the village into the first Smart City in the Middle East, Data Consult has provided innovative solutions insecurity, Internet of Things, data centers, network & system infrastructure and management, etc., for over 25 years.

For this project, there were several challenges:

  • to digitize elements of the city’s infrastructure and residential utility gauges
  • to connect these elements to a customized digital platform through a wireless network
  • to analyze and secure the massive flow of data


The digital infrastructure

“Turning a city smart is a journey,” says Marc Nader of Data Consult, charged with overseeing BeitMisk’s transformation.

The first step of the journey was to deploy sensors for collecting data on a variety of sources including gas, water and electric apartment meters, oil and water reservoirs, atmospheric gases, sewage treatment systems, legacy security systems, fire alarms, etc. Due to the wide, hilltop location of the village, LoRaWAN sensors were chosen for their long-range and low-powered wireless capabilities.

To gather the data, Data Consult implemented Actility’s ThingPark platform, chosen for its reliability in managing data from the diverse set of LoRaWAN sensors. They then stored the data on their own Data Orchestration Platform, built inside the Google Cloud.

A Smart City app, created to connect city operators and citizens to the platform, displays a responsive dashboard with analytics and visual data. A Facebook Messenger chatbot was also developed for tenants to easily access information and interact with their surroundings.

Transmitted data is encrypted from sensor to platform, secured within the Google Cloud by SSL secure sockets and single sign-on authentication, while the Facebook Messenger app and browsers used by the end-customers are HTTPS-secured.


Increasing citizen awarenes

Of the most striking results of the project were the speed and ease in which the city was digitized. The sensors seamlessly connect with non-born-digital elements, such as plugging LoRaWAN pulse sensors into water and gas meters or installing solar-powered air quality sensors on the sides of buildings. Converting measurements into digital data was nearly instantaneous and non-intrusive. The entire process was operational within a couple months.

“The innovation phase is dramatically accelerated,” Nader explains, “because developers just hook on to the Actility LoRa server and securely receive the data. We love the fact that security and sensor management is so well taken care of that we can focus our attention on the product we are creating.”

Furthermore, by leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze the massive flow of data resulting from the city’s digitalization, officials can focus on better managing scarce resources, saving energy and improving citizens’ consumption habits.

But it’s not just project managers and City Hall noticing the changes around town. Equipped with high speed internet, enhanced security systems, and interactive applications through which to monitor and access everyday data, citizens also take part in the project and increase their own awareness of their environmental impact. Therefore, empowered by this new information, the entire village can work together to improve BeitMisk’s quality of life.

“We are only scratching the surface in providing a better citizen experience in Lebanon,” says Nader.