Connected reindeer pave the way for improved herders’ lives

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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


250,000
animals herded each year


10%
of the herds go missing

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

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

SOLUTION

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

BENEFITS

 
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!

In Lebanese Vineyard, LoRaWAN Is Making Wine Better

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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


1951
year the estate was founded

End customer

Château Kefraya

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

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.”

SOLUTION

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.

BENEFITS

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.

RESOURCES

Discovery Ag and NNNCo to roll out Connected Country Network powered by Actility to boost Australian farms productivity

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

Discovery Ag and NNNCo to roll out Connected Country Network powered by Actility to boost Australian farms productivity

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo
Discovery Ag logo

Projects like this clearly demonstrate how industrial IoT has now moved into a stage of widespread deployment to solve real problems and deliver concrete benefits. Agriculture is quick to adopt new technology when the business case is right. This network will be a game changer for farmers in Australia’s Connected Country, thanks to its dramatic reduction in the TCO of an IoT solution. We’re very pleased to be able to support NNNCo and Discovery Ag in the speedy and cost-effective roll-out of the technology bedrock of the Connected Country.

Actility, the global leader in LPWA IoT Networks, is pleased to announce that its ThingPark platform is powering the rollout of the Connected Country Network in Australia. The Connected Country network is the result of a new joint venture between Delta Agribuiness subsidary Discovery Ag and long-standing Actility partner the National Narrowband Network Co (NNNCo), and was launched last week at Australian Farm Institute’s Harvesting the Benefits of Digital Agriculture conference in Melbourne.

For agriculture, Connected Country will provide the backbone infrastructure for networks of low-cost wireless sensors that constantly report on essential farm metrics like soil moisture, rainfall, crop health, water levels and livestock data. The sensors use limited power and can operate ‘in the field’ for years without the need for intervention. The network will be immediately rolled out across 400,000ha (1m. acres) in the NSW Central West  area. Within 18 months the joint venture partners intend to provide Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity across vast areas of the nation’s farming regions.

Rob Zagarella, Founder & CEO

The Rural IoT network, delivered by the NNN and powered by Actility’s ThingPark platform, will solve the connectivity and affordability problems for farmers. Together with Discovery Ag we will be providing a low-cost end-to end standards based solution comprising on-farm networks, network-ready sensors, and access to simple on-farm tools that farmers can use to monitor information and take timely action.

Rob Zagarella, Founder & CEO

NNNCo

Alicia Garden, CEO,

While hi-tech farming techniques are in use today, 80% of Australia’s farming footprint lacks adequate network coverage. For those that do have coverage, existing 3/4G cellular technologies make it too expensive for most farmers to network their sensors and create a truly connected ‘smart farm’.This private infrastructure project is initially about building the enabling technology to make the IoT viable for Australian agriculture,” adds Gardeen As the network builds out, though, it will by default cover many other businesses and urban areas, so anyone who wants to develop a sensor network but who has been prohibited by the cost of data transfer will be able to join the Connected Country system and achieve their goals. This project is the first of its kind in terms of the size of the area we’re aiming to cover and will attract significant global interest. No-one has been willing or able to deliver such a solution on this scale before and we see it as a major step in helping ensure regional communities are ‘connected’ and able to improve the way they do business.​

Alicia Garden, CEO,

Discovery AG

Inmarsat and Actility empower next generation of students in Rwanda to harness the IoT for a more sustainable future

Inmarsat logo

The Actility Newsroom

Inmarsat and Actility empower next generation of students in Rwanda to harness the IoT for a more sustainable future

23 May 2017: Inmarsat, the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has announced the commencement of its Smart Cities Education Programme, a range of initiatives supported by Actility, designed to educate and empower the next generation of students and entrepreneurs in Africa. The programme, which has been launched initially in Rwanda but will be replicated in other countries in the continent, aims to accelerate the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city solutions, providing the foundations for a more sustainable future.

Coinciding with Smart Africa’s Transform Africa Summit 2017, the programme will expose young Rwandans to the transformational capabilities of IoT. It will include a three-month student internship, an IoT boot camp for students and entrepreneurs, and a partnership with the winner of Rwanda’s 2016 Ms Geek competition. In addition to providing knowledge, mentoring and coaching, Inmarsat and Actility have deployed LoRaWAN infrastructure around the city of Kigali for an initial period of a year, which will provide an IoT network for students to explore ideas and enable them to deploy their innovative ideas in the a real-life environment.

Inmarsat is mentoring Rosine Mwiseneza, the winner of Ms Geek 2016 – an annual competition designed to inspire female university students to employ technology to overcome issues faced by Rwandans. Specifically, Inmarsat is collaborating with Rosine and her team to implement a prototype IoT-based agricultural irrigation solution for potential commercialisation. The goal is to create a scalable solution that can be used across Rwanda as well as Africa and the rest of the world, thanks to Inmarsat’s global networks.

Paul Gudonis, President, Inmarsat Enterprise, commented: “These types of initiatives are about overcoming the challenges Rwanda faces by providing students and the next generation of entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools they need to create a more sustainable future. Equipping students with the means to experiment with precision farming techniques has the potential to completely rewrite agriculture as Rwanda knows it. But beyond that, we want to expose students to the art of the possible and get them thinking about how IoT can drive innovation across all sectors. I expect we’ll see students imagining new and novel IoT solutions, many of which we may not have even considered yet.”

Inmarsat is also offering a three-month internship to one student from the Carnegie Mellon University’s campus in Kigali. The selected student will learn about the importance of satellite communications in the IoT ecosystem and will work with the Ministry of Youth and ICT to initiate some early IoT deployments. The intern will be responsible for managing the network, the application layer and the sensors involved in these deployments.

Additionally, Inmarsat hosted an IoT developer boot camp, supported by FabLab, IoT networking partner Actility and ICT Chamber. The boot camp took entrepreneurs, developers and students through a complete IoT journey, demonstrating how to build sensors, how to collect and analyse the data, the applications involved and how to build them, along with an exploration of different agricultural and environmental use cases.

NNNCo and Actility ready to begin rollout of Australia’s first nationwide industrial IoT network

NNNCa National Narrowband Network Co logo

The Actility Newsroom

NNNCo and Actility ready to begin rollout of Australia’s first nationwide industrial IoT network

Actility, the industry leader in low power wide area networking, and the National Narrowband Network Co, Australia’s leading LORaWAN network operator, today signed a contract to partner in deploying a national LORaWAN network to catalyse the growth of industrial IoT across Australia. The agreement marks the successful completion of a testing and proof of concept phase, which has demonstrated that NNNCo and Actility can deliver together the key functionality required by customers, including NNNCo’s innovative granular multicast technology, which is today unique in the LPWA domain.

“This agreement is a key step in NNNCo’s commercial network development as we move from a testing phase to commercial roll out of the national narrowband network (NNN). This will occur project-by-project across Australia, in partnership with Actility as NNNCo’s network server provider, “ explains NNNCo Founder and CEO Rob Zagarella. “The big use cases in Australia are water, agriculture, energy monitoring and control, soil moisture, rainfall detection, cattle tracking, building management and people movement. Given Australia’s size and climate, we’ve also had to design in various architectures and gateway solutions to handle many different types of topographies and densities, from built-up urban centres to rural landscapes,” he adds.

“We’re delighted that NNNCo has chosen Actility to support this large-scale network that will enable a wide range of applications across Australia,” says Actility Founder and CTO Olivier Hersent. “Our extensive experience of carrier-grade network solutions, gained through powering almost half the national LPWA networks around the world, will help us support NNNCo through the unique challenges of what is, after all, a continental roll-out as well as a national one. But we have also been very impressed by the innovation we’ve seen from NNNCo in the course of our pilot programme together, and we believe that will be a powerful contribution to the worldwide LoRaWAN ecosystem.”

NNNCo is Australia’s LoRaWAN network operator, dedicated to building and operating a National Narrowband Network for IoT as an end-to-end scalable service offering over a shared network. The company is working with some of the world’s leading energy and water utilities, technology providers and innovators to roll out large-scale, carrier-grade network solutions. Over the past 12 months, NNNCO has become established as a world-leading organisation in understanding the scope, and the limits, of LoRaWAN solutions. The company’s approach has been to focus on a number of key verticals that it believes will have the biggest impact, such as energy, water and smart cities, and it has gone in deep on those verticals with end-to-end solutions.

The new contract comes as the joint NNNCo/Actility trial deployment with Ergon Energy reaches a key milestone, ready to evolve towards a full-scale commercial solution. The testing/PoC stage has been geared towards preparing for the deployment of large-scale network roll-outs that can handle the challenges. NNNCo is now in the final stage of the Ergon Energy proof of concept, which includes 50 production-ready DREDS (Demand Response Enabling Devices).

“We know the network works and we’re on the border between proof of concept and commercial deployments,” explains Zagarella. ”We’re preparing ourselves to access Actility’s network server for commercial roll-out. It’s exciting to be working with a global partner like Actility which is providing network servers to other large operators around the world. Throughout our PoCs NNNCo has had a great working relationship with Actility from a development perspective, to ensure we’re prepared for the commercial deployments such as smart cities, utilities, water and agriculture.”

“This contract is a clear demonstration of how the momentum behind LoRaWAN is building quickly in the Asia-Pacific region,” comments Actility’s Peter Hogewoning, Director of Sales for APAC. “With LoRaWAN already well established in Europe, ground-breaking national and large-scale network roll-outs all around the Pacific Basin are going to be a highlight for the LPWA ecosystem in 2017.”