Kerlink, CityTaps Deploy LoRaWAN Network in Kenya

By RFID Journal

The companies have partnered to deliver running water to homes in developing countries.

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Kerlink, a provider of solutions dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT), and CityTaps, a French company focused on increasing access to running water in third-world countries, have partnered to installed a pilot project to help Kenyans receive, monitor and pay for water use. CityTaps was established in 2015 to bring running water to homes in urban communities. The company’s CTSuite solution combines a smart and prepaid water meter and software with existing mobile payment systems, enabling equipped homes to measure water use and manage their consumption.

The pilot is financed by a program of the French treasury directorate general (Trésor DG), known as FASEP. Designed primarily for small to medium enterprises, FASEP awards grants to finance feasibility studies or pilot projects for green and innovative technologies. The grants allow businesses to demonstrate the effectiveness of their methods and establish a base in their partner countries.

Kerlink provides connectivity solutions for designing, launching and operating public and private IoT networks, for such vertical markets as fleet management, transportation, logistics, retail, asset tracking, smart metering, smart agriculture and the environment, as well as smart cities, buildings and factories. Based in France, with subsidiaries in the United States, Singapore, India and Japan, Kerlink is a founding member of the LoRa Alliance and the uCIFI Alliance.

The LoRaWAN network combines Kerlink’s Wirnet iBTS outdoor gateways and CityTaps’ CTSuite prepaid water meters and software. The IoT-based network enables users to measure and manage their water consumption and make scheduled payments to MAWASCO, a water supply utility in Kenya’s Watamu region. Watamu, a small town located on the coast of the Indian Ocean, has a population of around 1,900. In addition to eliminating overdue bills, CityTaps’ grant will help reduce water loss and leakage in Watamu.

“In Kenya, 41 percent of the population does not have access to running water,” said Grégoire Landel, CityTaps’ CEO and founder, in a prepared statement. “This grant will pay for the installation of CityTaps’ CTSuite in many homes in Watamu with the support from Kerlink. Kerlink is a strong partner for this project because it has extensive experience deploying IoT networks around the world, including in Africa.”

“An important feature of this project will enable people with irregular incomes who cannot afford monthly bills to have access to affordable, quality water by staying connected to the water company’s network and making payments when they can,” Landel continued. “It will allow customers to pre-pay for their water consumption by crediting a water account at any time, with any mobile phone and for any amount. This helps water utilities to recover arrears and avoid losses, which encourages financiers to invest in the extension of water networks.”

“Together, Kerlink and CityTaps are contributing to the health and quality of life in Kenya’s Watamu region, demonstrating again how LoRaWAN IoT networks can considerably improve conditions for people around the world,” said Romain Weryk, Kerlink’s key account manager, in the prepared statement. “Powered by Kerlink’s Wirnet iBTS outdoor gateways, CityTaps’ tailored solution delivers radio communication between the water meters and the software platform, bringing smart metering to this developing country region.”

Earlier this year, Kerlink announced its involvement in a United Nations pilot program for reservoir monitoring in Uganda and Iraq, which also incorporated Kerlink’s LoRaWAN gateway technology. CityTaps, meanwhile, received the FASEP grant in pursuit of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals—particularly SDG6, which supports access to water and sanitation around the world.