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

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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

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

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

SOLUTION

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.

BENEFITS

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.

RESOURCES

LoRaWAN-Connected BoatSecure — A Sailor’s Delight

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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


10,000
Boats at moorings and in marinas


AS923
New Zealand’s LoraWAN band

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

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.

SOLUTION

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

BENEFITS

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.

RESOURCES

Communithings brings shoppers back to town with smart-parking solution in Mons

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Communithings brings shoppers back to town with smart-parking solution in Mons

At CommuniThings we are focused on the customer journey while remaining agnostic to the technology used. The city of Mons wished to deploy smart parking over LoRa. The service was launched successfully, keeping residents, shoppers and merchants satisfied.

Etay Oren, Co-founder, CEO of Communithings

End customer

City of Mons

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

Increase parking capacity as well as vehicle rotation in shopping

In Mons, a staggering 30% of traffic congestion was due to parking search. Mons was suffering from insufficient parking capacity in its commercial zones, resulting in cars cruising for space and making it unpredictable to plan shopping visits. In addition, due to lengthy stays of vehicles during the day, each parking spot generated less than three rotations a day. The parking meters in place could not address the low rotation issue, and the steward resources were insufficient to reduce parking infringement.  Overall, the municipality felt the impact on local retailers was considerable and required innovative action to reduce parking search while increasing parking rotation and shopping incentive.

“We, local shopkeepers from Mons, had been waiting for quite a while to benefit from more free parking spots, available for short periods of time. We’re delighted now that it has been implemented!”, commented Claire Servais, a Mons shop keeper on Belgian television.

Several smart parking solutions were considered, but they entailed resorting to a meshed network, involving repeaters in every street. This approach was deemed too expensive, and undesirable for the preservation of the city landscape.

SOLUTION

LoRaWAN allowed an easy and cost-effective rollout of the smart parking service

 Once the city of Mons had set its mind on a wireless solution, the choice was the LoRaWAN technology made perfect sense. Achat-Minute was the first wide-scale LoRaWAN deployment in Belgium – over the Proximus national network, thus proving its technical benefits:
  • It is wireless and suppresses the need for repeaters and inherent setup costs
  • The coverage is optimized making it an obvious alternative to meshed networks.
  • Its battery lifespans 5 to 7 years

As a pioneer in its field, CommuniThings initially carried out a two-month pilot (November-December 2015) in two zones involving 50 merchants.The city granted 30 minutes of free parking in a dedicated zone. Sensors on the ground measured time spent and reported infringements to controllers. Users could use the mobile app to find available parking and follow session duration on their mobile phones. Merchants could prolong the parking session by 15 minutes after their purchases, using a QR code reader.

The results were staggering: within 2 months, total rotations per space tripled in each spot, from less than three a day before the pilot to over 9 rotations a day! Retailers appreciated the ability to extend parking duration and enable more purchasing. Following the pilot, and an ensuing public tender, the city of Mons proceeded with a wide-scale launch of the solution across 110 spots (representing less than 20% of its capacity in the city center).

Achat-Minute is a free visual app that can be downloaded on any smartphone via Apple or Android’s app store.Access to the service is kept simple: Once downloaded from the app store, users can view real-time heat map advising on parking availability and enabling navigation to the available space.  Once checked-in, the timer on the app advises on time remaining, controllers are informed real-time of elapsed parking duration, allowing for efficient fine-handling of cars in breach. Parking managers receive statistics on usage patterns per parking and comparative analysis between periods (hours, days etc.)

BENEFITS

Dynamic use of parking spots to disentangle the city center

CommuniThings was chosen for its ability to deploy a solution that is innovative, technically sound as well as cost effective. CommuniThings developed an end-to-end parking management solution adapted to various uses in every aspect of the city.

Mons “Achat-Minute” offers considerable advantages to all parties involved:

  • For residents: real-time availability of spaces, check-in, navigation, timer
  • For controllers: occupancy and infringement handling
  • For retailers: becoming involved in attracting shoppers even without ownership of adjacent parking spaces
  • For the municipality: usage patterns information enabling daily records for further uses

The city’s landscape and beauty are preserved. Mons is indeed a beautiful old city and the municipality was keen to preserve the scenery with a wireless solution. The LoRa technology offers considerable improvements without impacting the city landscape. Technical benefits and cost structure are extremely favorable.

Complementary smart parking use cases based on the LoRaWAN national network include:

  • Scalability: adding new parking spots simply requires to deploy more sensors (no repeaters, no gateways).  This means a quicker rollout and a more cost-effective maintenance. The most congested areas can be identified and the offer adapted with specific spots
  • Services: address other dedicated areas in the city, such as residential parking, handicapped zones, and parking areas with charging spots for electrical cars

We’re available to discuss your smart city project!

RESOURCES

Suez optimizes waste management in the Netherlands

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Suez optimizes waste management in the Netherlands

We need partners to innovate with. One of them is KPN that supports us in using the LoRa network.

Raymond de Schrevel, Business Development Manager


57 million
People benefit from the Group’s waste collection services


130 
Operating storage centrers worldwide


42 million metric tonnes treated
Waste generated by Suez customers

End customer

Suez

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

Innovate to optimize the waste management chain

Suez is one of the oldest multinational corporations in the world and prides itself on continuously adapting to our changing world.  Suez Environment has four major activities, one of which is recycling and waste recovery. Suez is responsible for waste collection and disposal, and it also promotes waste recovery to generate renewable energy and secondary raw materials.

Aiming to support municipalities, industries and healthcare professionals in the most complex waste management projects, Suez turned to KPN– the largest telecommunication company in the Netherlands – to help implement a very innovative solution throughout the waste management chain.

Suez understood that the IoT could offer a wide range of opportunities for them and their clients.

SOLUTION

Smart technology implemented from collection to treatment but also in recycling

In the Netherlands, KPN has deployed a nationwide Low Power Wide Area network based on LoRaWAN technology. This network technology offers great coverage, low consumption, long battery life and ease of deployment.

Actility has created the ThingPark software platform to help its customers such as KPN to easily roll out and operate an LPWA network. Thanks to the network solution offered by KPN and powered by Actility, Suez is now leveraging smart technology in several areas of waste management from collection to treatment but also recycling.

By placing sensors on containers of dangerous, confidential and medical waste, Suez started tracking them from the generator facility where the waste is produced, until it reaches the off-site waste management facility that will store, treat or dispose of the hazardous waste. Accurate waste management information is essential to most organizations operating in regulated industries and the healthcare sector, and today IoT brings this required detailed information and history of the waste and its movement.

BENEFITS

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.

Learn more about LoRaWAN benefits to optimize your processes

SmartLog uses LoRa to make Dutch canals smart

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SmartLog uses LoRa to make Dutch canals smart

Visualizing the sensor data from the canal results in extremely valuable insights for Rijkswaterstaat. Together with KPN and Actility, Smartlog is proud to help them gain insight in this important sensor data

Joris Van der Elst , Business Developer at SmartLog

End customer

SmartLog

 

CUSTOMER CHALLENGE

Increase water level control system efficiency to enhance public security

Many Dutch cities were built around canals. In Amsterdam alone, there are over 100 kilometers of waterways and more than 1500 bridges. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (Rijkswaterstaat), which supervises their construction and maintenance, needs state-of-the-art IoT technologies and tools to prevent flooding.

Smartlog and KPN helped the Dutch Ministry upgrade their network to be able to control the water level in several canals in real time and from a distance. Leveraging sensors already in place but based on an old radio protocol, Smartlog transformed them into intelligent devices. How did this innovative M2M solution provider do that? It connected them to the KPN LoRa network, powered by Actility, which allows sensor data to be visualized by their application.

SOLUTION

Upgrade an old technology to LoRaWAN

Water levels in the canals require constant supervision to prevent flooding of the housing and stores along its quays. This monitoring by Rijkswaterstaat is extremely time consuming. Smartlog, the innovative IoT applications provider, came up with an easy monitoring solution to address this issue.

In September 2016, it started with a pilot in which a single canal in Amsterdam was equipped with sensors. The sensors collect data on water levels, and were monitored remotely. The Smartlog data platform sends alerts and opens sluices to reroute water flows and prevent floods.

The Netherlands is the first country in the world to have a nationwide LoRa network for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. This KPN network is powered by Actility ThingPark, which enables the connection, management and operation of a wide range of devices and applications. For Smartlog and Rijkswaterstaat, the solution exceeded all expectations.

The LoRa network is unique in its ability to connect low-power sensors to applications over long-range wireless links. The sensors collect large volumes of data which is then processed and routed by the advanced Smartlog IoT platform. The platform manages the communication between sensors, base stations and applications. It also provides tools for the operator to manage and optimize their network.

BENEFITS

Global and detailed insight into water levels

After a successful pilot project, the Rijkswaterstaat is now implementing a LoRaWAN solution throughout the Netherlands to obtain a global and detailed insight into water levels in the canals. This low-cost installation will give them much more information than ever before, which will improve efficiency and quality.  At the same time, other usages are being imagined by the Ministry to launch new projects, such as connected buoys or remote dike monitoring.

To know more about how LPWA technologies could help innovate in your smart city project

RESOURCES