Watson Helsinki Summit: The Magic Show by Digita, Watson IoT and ThingPark

Watson Helsinki Summit

The Actility Blog

Watson Helsinki Summit: The Magic Show by Digita, Watson IoT and ThingPark

IBM Watson - Helsinki Summit

On 18 October, Guy Shelbourne and myself Mark Maidman were invited to attend the IBM Watson Helsinki Summit by our Finnish partner Digita. We told visitors the unheard of capabilities of a public LoRaWAN network, coupled with Watson IoT analytics and ThingPark. Here’s the full story!

IBM Watson… You may know it as “the supercomputer able to play and win Jeopardy against the two best human competitors”. This is how 13-year-old Watson Programmer, TEDx Speaker & Algorithm Developer, Tanmay Bakshi stumbled on it.

The Watson developer embarked on an AI mission to augment human life for people whose disabilities hinder their communication with the outside world. As a matter of facts, the young Canadian prodigy was invited to deliver the closing keynote at the Helsinki Summit.

As a professional, chances are that your company uses Watson IoT analytics and AI to “drive deeper customer relationships, operational excellence and digital transformation”. Noteworthy is that Watson analytics have excellent credentials within Finnish corporations.

Digital adventure

Let me introduce my partner Digita Oy here: it is the leading network provider in Finland. In 2015, the traditional television and radio network operator embarked on a new IoT adventure. 

“We believe that IoT technology will revolutionise our daily lives. In theory, there is no limit to the kinds of applications that are possible”, stated Markus Ala-Hautala, COO of Digita.

At the start of 2017 seasoned IoT solution developer Ari Kuukka joined Digita to head up the IoT business unit deploying a national LoRaWAN network and introducing end-to-end IoT solutions. Since last spring, Ari has been helped by Mika Flinck, as Head of IoT Sales. His role is to productise the new solutions and to accelerate the sales to different industries. …

“LoRaWAN is right here and now! To bring this disruptive technology to the market, we are investing in a national network and integrating our partners’ devices and applications into ready-to-use solutions for Finnish companies.” Mika Flinck, Digita

Connected meeting cube

Could Digita dream of a better opportunity to showcase an integrated IoT solution than the IBM Watson Helsinki Summit? The operator went for a connected workplace demo available on the whole event. Each booth had its mobile Smartblock meeting cube equipped with a temperature, humidity and CO2 sensor. Then you could easily monitor activity and comfort on a dashboard.

Visitors were so impressed by this experience that they asked Digita whether they were running the full demo by themselves! The truth is that the operator orchestrated it with its partner Smartblock

Proud to attend the Watson Summit with our partner, Digita.

Adapt and Package

The second solution partner featured on Digita’s booth I found inspiring is MATOlog founder and Etteplan Chief Technology Officer, Jaakko Ala-Paavola. He presented a condition monitoring solution using a B2C off-the-shelf sensor packaged it with Digita’s IoT network and a user-friendly data visualization app.

“I’m delighted to work with Digita Oy that has the best national coverage and that is trusted by Finnish companies”, comments Ala-Paavola.

This Finnish entre/intrapreneur is used to working with IBM services Watson IoT and Cloud that have a lot of traction in Finland.  A testimony to this popularity is the growing number of visitors at the Helsinki Summit: + 2.000 this year!

“Watson analytics is very popular with our customers and analytics are a natural extension to IoT.” Jaakko Ala-Paavola, MATOlog

The secret gate

Now that you know the scene, the players and the plot… let’s take a look at backstage… technically I mean! As always, Actility’s platform ThingPark is behind LoRaWAN solutions used by companies.

Do you know what happens to the data collected by the sensors once it travels on a LoRaWAN network? How does a Watson customer access it? Where’s the secret gate from LoRa to Watson?

“The secret gate is embedded inside the ThingPark software, it’s called TPX and it’s completely seamless for the end-user!” Alexandre Estela, Actility.

With ThingPark X connectors enabled through DX API, the user only needs to have a Watson IoT account to synchronize device data with this cloud: all further configuration, device creation and bi-directional communication are automatically managed by the ThingPark Platform.

This is the kind of magic we Actility like to offer!

For more details on how to implement LoRaWAN in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics, feel free to contact me here!

Actility ThingPark and Digita will take IoT to new heights with a national LoRa network for Finland

Digita logo

The Actility Newsroom

Actility ThingPark and Digita will take IoT to new heights with a national LoRa network for Finland

Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), and Digita, the Finnish broadcast network operator, are teaming up to take the next step towards a fully-connected Finland by rolling out a LoRa network. Following the completion of a successful trial period of several months, the companies have seen that the market is ready for a full-scale commercial deployment. The service is available for local implementation everywhere in Finland from October 2016. Rollout for full area coverage starts from major cities. 

This is the first commercial LoRa network for IoT to be deployed in Finland. The deployment also emphasizes the opportunity that LoRa brings for companies like Digita, which is not a traditional cellular operator, to leverage the tall radio and television masts of their broadcast network to become key players in the Internet of Things.

The LoRa network will enable services across a wide variety of domains, including smart cities, smart agriculture and logistics. Exploring the benefits for smart homes, during the trial period, Digita and partner VVO Group evaluated a solution using Actility’s platform, which monitored temperature and humidity in 200 of VVO Group’s properties in the city of Espoo. 

“Maintaining healthy living conditions is easy when the factors that affect residents’ comfort can be recognised in real time,” explains Kimmo Rintala, head of VVO Group’s property development unit. “Continuous measuring also enables us to detect obvious apartment-specific faults even before the residents themselves have time to react. Digita’s solution eliminates the need for property-specific installations, as it is based on sensors within apartments that are able to communicate directly with Digita’s system.”

The LoRa core network service is delivered through Actility’s ThingPark Wireless solution, a fully integrated platform for the Internet of Things. Making use of Digita’s broadcast masts means that the technology can be deployed at very high points overlooking the city and be exploited to its full range. 15 of Digita’s 38 main masts are over 300 meters high.

”Finland is an innovative country, with a real hunger for new technologies. The IoT provides fantastic new opportunities to create compelling services for citizens and government. The increased area that can be reached quickly by implementing LoRa technology on broadcast masts, ensures even better coverage and reduces the required number of gateways. With our partners at Digita, we expect to be able to beat the current LoRa range record of 15km,” declares Olivier Hersent, CTO of Actility.
“We believe that IoT technology will revolutionise our daily lives. It can be used, for example, to monitor building conditions, save energy, prevent water damage, prevent theft, locate objects, locate pets, optimize farming and monitor health. In theory, there is no limit to the kinds of applications that are possible,” explains Digita’s COO Markus Ala-Hautala.

Actility and broadcast network operator Digita to launch a trial LoRa Iot network

Digita logo

The Actility Newsroom

Actility and broadcast network operator Digita to launch a trial LoRa Iot network

LoRa technology contributes to innovating traditional broadcasting

Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), and Digita, Finnish broadcast network operator, announce a trial LoRa network to the city of Helsinki and the surrounding area. It is the very first time a LoRa network is deployed in Finland.

The trial aims to prepare the ground for the set-up of a pilot and allows for customers to work with the LoRa technology on several use cases. Initial use cases involve temperature/humidity and motion sensors for monitoring conditions in homes, summer cottages and other property. The network can also be utilized in e.g. smart cities, agriculture and logistics.

The LoRa core network service is delivered through Actility’s ThingPark Wireless solution, a fully integrated platform for the Internet of Things, allowing objects to connect and to communicate within a range of up to 15 km. Making use of broadcast masts means that the technology can run through very high points in the city and be exploited to its full range. 15 of Digita’s 38  main masts are over 300 meters high.

COO of Digita Markus Ala-Hautala: “Digita is a pioneer in wireless and digital solutions in Finland so it’s crucial for us to explore the IoT opportunities. We believe that our expertise in broadcast portfolio is transferable into providing top class network services in IoT as well”.

“We are delighted to set up this trial for the first time in a Scandinavian country. Thanks to Digita’s high masts, we expect to beat the current LoRa range record of 15 km, pointing out the potential of the LoRa range capability”, said Olivier Hersent, Founder and CTO of Actility.

Through ThingPark Wireless OSS (Operations Support System), Digita will be supervising its network performance in real time..

LoRaWan: the protocol for Low Power Wide Area networks

As a founding member of the LoRa Alliance, Actility works with the LoRa eco-system of device and application providers to enable public or private networks connecting multiple applications onto the same network infrastructure. This means that only a few base stations are needed to cover an entire city or country, making the Internet of Things possible at minimal infrastructure investment.