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Canadian City Plans IoT Pilots With New LoRa Infrastructure

The city of Fredericton will offer an open data portal for its residents, local entrepreneurs and public employees, which includes data such as the level of the river, car occupancy in handicapped spaces and water consumption in buildings, using IoT network from eleven-x.
By Claire Swedberg

Ryan Hickey, eleven-x's COO, says the LoRaWAN-based technology provides about a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) range for each gateway, and a large number of sensors within that range could transmit data to those gateways. The LoRaWAN-based system could also accomplish such functions as locating individuals or assets within buildings with the addition of GPS or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons. With the three LoRa gateways alone, the city can identify a sensor's location within a resolution of about 70 to 100 meters (230 to 328 feet). However, Hickey says, tracking moving sensors is not part of the city's project. With the network, he explains, "We make sure data from the sensors is collected reliably and securely."

The city has an Open Data portal that already collects data which the public can access. "We have people who pull data sets off the portal, and come back with analysis," Bell says, that could lead to new apps or products. For instance, he adds, an individual analyzed the demographic information the city provided in comparison to public transit stops, in order to identify where more access might benefit the city's older population. Sensor-based data should be made available on the portal within six to eight weeks. Data is already flowing from the sensors, Hickey reports, and integration to the portal is now under way.

The potential for IoT deployments and innovation means that the city and local entrepreneurs will embark upon many more projects, Bell says. "It's absolutely fascinating," he states. "There are things you have to work on, and things you get to work on. This is one of the things you get to work on." Bell says the city considered building its own LoRa network, but found that it could accomplish more by teaming with a company like eleven-x. "There's a steep learning curve to build your own network. It's much more exciting to work with a partner that has expertise. I want to get started with the fun stuff."

By teaming with eleven-x, Bell says, Fredericton can collaborate with some of the other communities in which the technology firm has deployed its network. "We want our solutions to be transferable," he says, while also being able to view and share information about what other cities are accomplishing.

Eleven-x was established in 2014 as an IoT solutions provider. It installed its first low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) in Canada in December 2016. Since then, the city has built a presence in more than 30 other cities throughout the country.

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