In Lebanese Vineyard, LoRaWAN Is Making Wine Better


In Lebanese Vineyard, LoRaWAN Is Making Wine Better

IoT is set to push the future of agriculture and farming to the next level

Maher Choufani, IoT Project Manager, Libatel

300 hectares
vineyard size

40 countries
where Château Kefraya exports

year the estate was founded

End customer

Château Kefraya


Faster, easier collection of data

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications and Ogero Telecom have 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 IoT 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. Such efforts have coalesced at Château Kefraya, one of Lebanon’s pioneering examples of Smart Agriculture.

This 75 year-old vineyard, nestled in the West Bekaa Valley southeast of Beirut, spans 300 hectares across terraced slopes in the foothills of Mt. Barouk, a thousand meters above the Mediterranean Sea. Château Kefraya has been in the Bustro family for generations and its wine is sold in over 40 countries.

As the estate already produces excellent, renowned wines (their Comte de M 2012 vintage was highly rated by famous wine critic Robert Parker), it is reasonable to inquire why a successful enterprise would seek to introduce new technology, especially in an industry often proud of traditional methods.

For the past three years, Château Kefraya has partnered with engineers from Saint Joseph University to improve agricultural methods and better manage resources. The research team studies the terroir, the combination of climate and soil, and its effect on grape quality.

“Enhancing agricultural techniques can’t happen without agricultural research,” said Dr. Yolla Ghorra Chamoun, a professor at Saint Joseph University. “Until now, the data was collected manually—a process that is long, hard and expensive.”


Selecting LoRaWAN for quick implementation

Several weeks ago, Ogero and Libatel joined the team. For 40 years, Libatel has pioneered technology in both the public and private sectors with IP telephony, software development, data switching and routing, security and now the Internet of Things and Smart Solutions.

Libatel is testing IoT applications and installing sensors throughout the vineyard—even on the grapevines themselves—to help the research team gather data for the estate. Their software engineers have developed a program in parallel to receive the data sent by the sensors in the field. To transmit this data, Libatel choseLoRaWAN for its ability to provide low-power, wide-range solutions within a rapid timeframe. Actility assessed the requirements and, through the ThingPark platform, provided full support during its deployment.

The data is then visually presented through clear charts and graphs in real time on the computers and smartphones of the agricultural engineers and winemakers’ computers and smartphones. The information includes soil and water temperature, humidity, soil moisture, luminosity, etc., on six different parcels.


Reaping early rewards

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.Even though the project is in its early stages, many results are already apparent. Château Kefraya’s employees are spending less time walking around the vineyard analyzing the vines themselves. They find the new data accurate and reliable and are even using it to compare with laboratory analysis of their grapes and during tastings. Furthermore, the estate intends to use the collected data in the future to determine how and when to take certain actions within resource management, such as optimal irrigation times and locations, which will then lead to higher production quality at a lower cost.

    “Now, by placing sensors in the field,” reports Dr. Chamoun, “(we) automatically collect data to achieve results that are faster, clearer and better.”

    Maher Choufani, IoT Project Manager at Libatel, has also been impressed by the speed and effectiveness in which the various parties worked together to implement a full LoRaWAN Iot solution from scratch. Within two months, they successfully collaborated with a major telecom operator, university research team, various IoT solutions providers and the wine estate itself to deploy the sensors, connect them through gateways to the platform and onward to users’ online dashboards.

    “I was surprised by how much IoT—especially LoRaWAN—helped the viticultural engineers improve wine quality, and therefore wine production,” Choufani said. “IoT is set to push the future of agriculture and farming to the next level.”

    While Libatel touts the evolution toward what they describe as “precision viticulture”, the country of Lebanon itself has further evidence that IoT can increase productivity and efficiency to boost the country’s exports and achieve its larger economic goals.


Orange uses ThingPark Energy to monetize its back-up batteries


Orange uses ThingPark Energy to monetize its back-up batteries

​Since 2019, Actility Energy has become Flexcity, part of the Veolia group.

We are very proud of this smart grid world premiere that contributes to the French electricity grid’s stability while creating immediate and substantial ROI

Hervé Mallet, Energy Director, Technical & IS Direction, Orange France

11 million
Broadband internet customers in France


Broadband customer base increase in 2016

12 000
Number of batteries in the project

End customer



Get an ROI from passive but essential back-up resources

Orange is one of the largest operators of mobile and internet services in Europe and Africa and a global leader in corporate telecommunication services. As a leader on its domestic French market, the Telco guarantees the Quality of Service of its network for fixed-line telephony as well as broadband internet on a 24/7 basis. To do so, Orange operates thousands of technical sites or relays distributed across the country.

The operation of these sites is very critical as they must provide a continuous telecommunication service. Sustained operations are guaranteed during power outages thanks to a high-capacity array of small back-up batteries installed on each site. The battery stores sufficient energy to keep the site operational for an extended period without any external power supply. In case of an incident, the backup system relies on a monitoring platform that Orange implemented to track the state of charge of its 10 000-site batteries.
The backup batteries are rarely used, but they represent quite an investment for Orange to ensure its high-quality network. The Telco chose Actility, flexibility aggregator and technology company, to generate a short-term ROI of the existing security system. Actility’s solution ThingParkEnergy connects, manages, controls and monetizes the storage capacity of Orange’s fleet of batteries on the most adequate Demand Response services of RTE (the French Transmission System Operator of the grid) while ensuring reliable power supply of these critical operational sites.


Integrate the flexible capacities of small units

 To participate in most of the DR programs, participant sites are required to offer a minimum of power. The need to aggregate those sites, respecting their technical constraints, is tremendous to unlock that potential power for flexibility. The DAAS (DeAggregation and Aggregation Server) is a high performance, large scale DR algorithm of ThingPark Energy, that allows very small flexible units to participate altogether in DR programs. Thanks to large number of units controlled, the DAAS matches every minute an aggregated group response profile with the requested power profile as closely as possible.

This reliable, highly scalable solution unlocks the potential of flexibility for various small electrical devices, like heaters, water pumps, or batteries, enabling distributed energy resources curtailments to be competitive.

Actility works together with Orange technical managers to gain insight into critical operations’ constraints. Understanding the batteries’ behaviour and rebound effect of the sites when plugged back to the grid is essential to manage curtailments.

To pilot the batteries, Actility connects the Orange monitoring system to ThingPark Energy via an on-premise proxy. Real-time data on availability and state of charge allows to successively switch on / off groups of batteries to always deliver the power required by RTE during a DR activation. Actility has transformed a passive monitoring interface into an active platform connected to grid balancing services.


Control distributed flexibility to generate revenues

As an aggregator, Actility offers the flexible capacity of its portfolio to the grid operator (TSO). In case of disturbance on electricity supply, the TSO can choose to activate Actility’s portfolio within less than ten minutes. Actility gets paid for delivering the requested amount of energy to the grid, then distributes the gains among the flexible capacity suppliers.

Actility’s ThingPark Energy Platform leverages a high-performance algorithm to control a very large group of units – for instance, Orange’s batteries – while respecting each unit’s technical limits and availability.

Actility’s solution for large-scale Automated DR offers multiple benefits to Orange:

  • Generate revenues ROI in less than three months with minimal hardware investment
  • Allow to control remotely a fleet of batteries
  • Improve security of electricity supply
  • Cut CO2 emissions with green curtailments

For the first time, a French DC-metering system allows small sites to participate in DR programs. As a result, minimal hardware investment was needed from Orange to control a first pilot group of 5,000 / 12,000 batteries.

“Building on this highly profitable green curtailment, we are looking with Actility to leverage other distributed infrastructure assets within Orange to generate ROI.” Hervé Mallet, Energy Director, Technical & IS Direction, Orange France


Technical diagram

 The Orange batteries project implementation followed six main steps:

Die Mobiliar Disrupts Itself With A LoRaWAN-Based Tracking Service


Die Mobiliar Disrupts Itself With A LoRaWAN-Based Tracking Service

To be successful, we needed an innovative IoT technology partner to develop a LoRaWAN tracking device and a platform to test our business use case. Luckily, with Abeeway we found the perfect partner.

René MEIER, Business Innovations Manager at Die Mobiliar

Foundation of the oldest private insurance company in Switzerland

Market share: market leader in personal insurance for individuals and property

The Corporate Innovation grew from 6 to 35 members since 2014

End customer

Die Mobiliar


Adapting a traditional business model to the digital economy

Die Mobiliar is an insurance group operating in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It offers personal and household insurance, private liability insurance, pet and legal protection insurance, travel and motor vehicle insurance and much more.


Given the nature of the insurance business, when a customer signs up for a service, they only get in touch with the company to ask for assistance in case of an incident. This leads to a very limited customer interaction. Mobiliar wanted to create positive opportunities to engage with its customer base both on a regular basis and in the long run.

The second challenge of Mobiliar was to adapt its traditional business model to the current digital economy. In order to keep its leading position on its market, Mobiliar was keen to explore a new route: creating innovative digital services.

“We see our competition coming more from Google and Facebook, and insurance is now essentially about data. Indeed, the more data we have, the more we can offer targeted services. To do so, we need to analyze behaviors based on relevant information. René Meier, Die Mobiliar

The Mobiliar management realized that it needed to adapt its organization to create a context for customer-focused innovation in a digital environment. That’s why the company decided to create a separate corporate and innovative entity, working with a lean start-up methodology but aiming at developing new business models outside pure insurance.


The first smart tracking service based on LoRaWAN

In 2014, Mobiliar launched its “Corporate Innovation” team to investigate on technologies and new business opportunities. The objective was to create new services that would bring added value and regular engagement with end customers.


The following year, this new entity focused on tracking and location services: “Track & Trace” to protect personal items. The team worked hand and hand with Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest ICT and telecommunications provider in lean approach based on customer feedback. The first idea that came up was a community-based tracking service. It soon proved unpractical both in terms of its technicality and functionality, but it steered the innovation team towards a strictly personal solution.Building upon this, Corporate Innovation thus decided to design a hassle-free solution:  



Abeeway’s FindMe Microtracker

  • with no monthly fee
  • with a long battery life
  • able to work anywhere and anytime.

As Mobiliar business and innovation partner, Swisscom’s dedicated team of  IoT experts were able to work with Mobiliar from the prototype phase and on through to the market stage.




The Swiss ICT and telecommunications provider was exploring the capabilitiesof the emerging LoRaWAN technology with its partner Actility.  “Our role is to be a strong innovation partner for our customers”, comments Jaap Vossen Head of IOT. “In Mobiliar’s case, we felt that LoRaWAN’s capabilities combined with our partner Abeeway’s solution were a good match.

“Our IoT ecosystem and Actility’s support with the roll out Swisscom’s LoRaWAN network helped us meet early LoRaWAN adopters such as Mobiliar’s needs.” Jaap Vossen, Swisscom

Mobiliar was interested in leveraging the national LoRaWAN network that Swisscom was about to roll out, combined with the tracking expertise of Abeeway, a subsidiary of Actility since April 2017. The latter offers very low-power GPS tracking devices, mainly dedicated to asset management, logistics, and security of goods and people, with various applications. Abeeway can guide us because they see lots of other players in the IoT market”, comments René Meier.


 Mobiliar has ordered + 20 Microtrackers from Abeeway for a test that immediately brought positive feedbacks and dozens of pre-orders. Soon afterward, the project got approved by the company’s board and was set for the product-market fit phase. Last June, the FindMe service was commercially launched with a dedicated mobile application, extended with the back-end of Abeeway. Die Mobiliar also ordered a stock of 2,000 Microtrackers.

The device from FindMe can be placed in a car, on a boat, but also in a jacket, under a bicycle saddle or in a laptop bag. It even has a special button for an alarm signal. In the case of loss or theft, the owner has the opportunity to quickly retrieve his items. The clients can detect and notify when a belonging is moving outside specific perimeter, track and find it. The device itself is small and flat so that it does not strike the attention of thieves immediately.


Exploring New Grounds

Digital customer experience

FindMe has created a new digital experience on a user-friendly platform. It offers Mobiliar constant customer feedback as well as opportunities to engage them and also draw in new clients! The Innovation team’s objective is met by consolidating the customer base.

Explore new business models

Mobiliar’s Corporate Innovation team is proud of its successful product launch: they got confirmation that FindMe is tailored to the Swiss market needs, with the right price and features.

“Tracking makes it possible to protect valuable things in a brand new way, and that’s what appeals most to people.” René Meier, Die Mobiliar

FindMe is the embodiment of Mobiliar’s new business approach to an evolving digital economy. The insurer has raised millions of Swiss francs to invest in innovative digital business models and young thumbs.

Leverage LoRaWAN capabilities

What René Meier’s team didn’t know was that the technology partnership with Swisscom and Abeeway would be a true co-innovation adventure. “We are really happy with the support of our technology partners. The FindMe product results from best-in-class IoT technology combined with our team’s digital innovation expertise”, confirms Mr. Meier.

FindMe is one of the first implementations based on Swisscom’s LoRaWAN network. Abeeway trackers offer a one-year battery life and precise geolocation both outdoor and indoor, with a speed precision, very superior to the conventional GPS, thanks to its patented technology, low power GPS.

According to Mr. Meier, improving the technical solution could come from combining Bluetooth with LoRaWAN for new indoor-use applications of the trackers. And that is something he wants to continue exploring with technical partners such as Abeeway.

Learn more about our tracking and location services!


LoRaWAN-Connected BoatSecure — A Sailor’s Delight


LoRaWAN-Connected BoatSecure — A Sailor’s Delight

Powered by IoT Ventures’ new device and software and Actility as network connection manager, boat-owners can rest easy

Boat owners love playing on their boats and buying new kits. BoatSecure solves a real problem and gives peace of mind that their boat is ready to go whenever they want.

Cam Harris, Marine Electrician

3,000 km
Auckland’s coastline

Boats at moorings and in marinas

New Zealand’s LoraWAN band


Safety and Security Concerns Beneath the Surface

We’ve all walked by marinas gazing at boats of various shapes and sizes, fantasizing about sailing the high seas or exploring remote seaside coves. But did you realize that for every one of these vessels, moored tranquilly to their dock, there is an owner somewhere constantly nagged by concerns of safety and security?

Boats, especially those left unattended during long winters, can become unmoored and drift away or, more commonly, flood due to a problem with the bilge pump — a device that removes water from the area below the waterline, which can cause serious internal damage and sinking. Even within the safe confines of a marina, staff cannot keep watch over every ship 24 hours, seven days a week, and therefore react quickly enough to access the problem area or notify the owner.

In Auckland, New Zealand, known as the City of Sails with a 3,000-km coastline, there are more than 10,000 boats at moorings and in marinas. That’s a lot of worried boat owners, harbour masters and insurers.

Auckland’s Westhaven Marina, “the biggest (marina) in the Southern Hemisphere”, according to its website, houses over 1,800 boats. Cam Harris, owner of Beacon Marine, services these boats with all their electrical, electronic and maintenance needs. Needless to say, he is well-acquainted with the challenges of boat-ownership.

For instance, he’s the first to tell you that most moored boats rely on solar/wind-powered batteries or shore-connected power to keep bilge pumps operating reliably and items such as fridges and freezers functioning.  Winter storms put boat systems under severe pressure, and returning owners, excited for the summer season, don’t want to come aboard to find major issues.

Harris recently discussed these concerns with John McDermott, founder of BoatSecure who in turn approached Matt Hector-Taylor, Director of IoT Ventures, who provide software and engineering solutions and LoRaWAN-based IoT devices to businesses in virtually any industry.

IoT Ventures’ approach is to examine a problem in close collaboration with the client and agree upon a solution even before its production. “Unless there’s a real problem to solve,” says Hector-Taylor, “there’s no point to the Internet of Things.” This philosophy underscores the practical aims of IoT Ventures’ devices and solutions.


BoatSecure Keeps An Eye Out For Trouble

You can easily imagine the response of a harbour master, marina electrician and boat owner upon hearing that there is an inexpensive, easy-to-install sensor and mobile application that monitors a boat 24/7 and sends alerts when anything is amiss, wherever you are in the world. This solution constantly checks that batteries are charged and at the right voltage, the bilge pump is operating normally, the boat has not strayed via GPS-tracking and, should anything unintentional occur, send you, or a designated responder, an immediate alert.

McDermott describes BoatSecure as “a boat monitoring solution that keeps an eye on your boat when you can’t.”

Of course, there’s more to it all than meets the eye. For BoatSecure sensors to function practically, they must transmit information over long distances, sometimes from remote locations, and their batteries must operate for years. 3 or 4G networks are not an option as they are not reliable in these scenarios and would drain the batteries quickly regardless.

With a view to facilitate the functionality of these IoT solutions, Spark NZ has partnered with Actility to provide a LoRaWAN connection. Conveniently, one of their first connected sites is Auckland’s centrally located Sky Tower, which covers most of the city’s water areas and can now connect BoatSecure devices to the cloud.

Harris has just recently installed the first device in a trial boat and is impressed how easily the LoRaWAN signal is able to penetrate the cables and cabin whereas 3G is known for its difficulty. Connected to the battery and bilge pump, BoatSecure constantly monitors its own inputs and transmits hourly “reports” to his phone.

Harris has already confirmed the reliability of the LoRaWAN coverage. In fact, just a week before, there was a 48-hour power outage throughout the marina with 20% of boats losing power. As soon as the outage occurred, a notification appeared on his phone.

Boatsecure App Notifications

Owners can monitor the status of their boats and receive alerts with an intuitive app on their smartphones


A Beacon of Opportunity

Both Harris and McDermott are extremely optimistic about the future of BoatSecure. The wireless components are inexpensive, driving down the device’s purchase price; the network connection is also low-cost and reliable; the intuitive dashboard and smartphone app design ensures that owners can easily and comfortably check the status of their boats. Furthermore, network partners Spark NZ and Actility are able to roll out their services to new locations.

For Harris, in particular, a service providing an automated monitoring system allows him to increase revenue for his business while improving customer service.

These kinds of results should guarantee the spread of such solutions to other local markets in New Zealand and onward to Australia as demand grows. It is not hard to imagine further expansion to Europe and the Americas, where the recreational boating industry is surging.


Slovenian Smart Factory manages Electricity Consumption with LoRaWAN


Quality Guard enables cold chain traceability in Belgian food industry

Salonit Anhovo leverages Actility's partner Solvera Lynx's energy monitoring sensors and management system

The good thing is that we now have a good picture of energy consumption which is shared throughout the organization. We plan to reduce our energy consumption in the long run.

Magda Gabrijelcic , Energy Manager

Created 90 years ago
Oldest and biggest cement factory in Slovenia

3.180 tons of clinckers
Daily production capacity

9 Million euros
Yearly energy bill (mostly electricity)

End customer

Salonit Anhovo


Join the top 10 % most energy-efficient cement factories in Europe

Salonit Anhovo is the biggest cement production factory in Slovenia. Founded some 90 years ago in the central valley of Soča, the factory has been an innovation driver for the region ever since. In the past ten years, the factory invested massively in its production line.

Salonit also has a strong environmental regulation compliance strategy and it is dedicated to optimizing and reducing energy consumption. The goal was to reach the top 10 % most energy-efficient cement factories in the European Union. “We already use around 60 % alternative fuels and our CO2 emission factor is below benchmark factor”, explains Magda Gabrijelcic, Energy Manager at Salonit Anhovo.

But producing clinker is energy-intensive: its electricity consumption averages 85 GWh, with 2500 Tera Joules of energy used for clinker burning. In the past years, Salonit’s energy bills went up to 9 million EUR per year, mainly for electricity.  

“Our company wanted to understand into details the energy flow through the company and we were looking for a system to handle energy consumption data automatically.”

Salonit needed to comply with European energy regulation. The company could leverage a co-financing mechanism to invest in equipment and monitoring solutions that help meet the energy consumption reduction target.


Focus on energy savings, not on cabling

Salonit Anhovo  We chose a wireless technology over wired technology to simplify the roll-out of an energy management system (EMS). LoRaWAN was the obvious choice with its long range capabilities. The Salonit site stretches over 3 km in a valley, meaning that connecting all energy meters via a wired system is a huge hassle.

“Using LoraWAN devices from Solvera Lynx allowed us to focus on the energy-saving potential of the project instead of the cabling”, confirms Magda Gabrijelcic.

Salonit chose to implement Combox.L CI-B series of sensors for their long battery lifetime, but also because they are suitable for the harsh industrial environment. 

Before they implemented the EMS, some data were collected via a legacy SCADA system. A  “walk-around” team manually registered monthly consumption of energy. Data was mostly used for monthly consumption reports and billing of their internal services.


A detailed view of energy metrics to reduce consumption in the long run

Salonit Anhovo  All energy data is now automatically collected via the Gemalogic EMS from Solvera Lynx. Energy management data is coupled with production data and stored in an online database.  

Madga and her teams have created specific alarms on energy consumption and specific KPIs which link production data with energy consumption. Special analyses are also prepared such as M&T pairs for in-depth analysis of energy consumption. The EMS also automatically prepares energy usage reports, which are shared throughout the organization. Special reports are prepared and shared with Salonit’s top management.

“After 16 months of good operations, we are highly satisfied with our choice”, says the Energy Manager.

After using the LoRaWAN-based EMS for almost a year now, Salonit is now able to monitor its energy efficiency performance. Magda Gabrijelcic explains the factory’s production is strictly linked to the market situation and energy consumption varies with the type of products they are manufacturing and how well they are doing with energy efficiency.

“The good thing is that we now have a good picture of energy consumption which is shared throughout the organization. We plan to reduce our energy consumption in the long run.”

Salonit plans to introduce some more reports and alarms and we are also bringing additional measurement points into the system. Magda Gabrijelcic concludes that ” the solution we have created fits our organization. Combox.L CI devices with LoRaWAN and Gemalogic as energy management system work for us.”


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