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Calgary IoT Solution Helps Manage Garden Conditions, Golf Carts

The city is undertaking proof-of-concepts for several LoRa IoT-based solutions to analyze the conditions and plant health in its Devonian Gardens, as well as the movements of golf carts in the city's Shaganappi Point golf course, to better manage the scheduling and flow of golf play.
By Claire Swedberg
Jan 13, 2019

Canada's city of Calgary has several Internet of Things (IoT) pilots under way that are intended to improve city services, using a LoRaWAN IoT solution to capture and manage sensor data for several of the city's 32 departments. In the long term, Calgary plans to deploy a city-wide City Network of Things (CNoT) platform to be used across many of its departments.

The first project, managed by Calgary's Innovation & Collaboration team, uses IoT connectivity, via the Low Power Wide Area Networks (LoRA) standard, provided by Semtech Corp. At the Devonian Gardens, an indoor tropical garden, the city is managing optimal conditions for plant health, while the IoT is also being used as part of a connected golf course at Shaganappi Point.

The city of Calgary
The city launched its IoT efforts approximately two years ago, when it installed Tektelic gateways, then reached out to its business units to identify the first projects that would utilize the new system. Use cases have since led to the proof-of-concepts, which have been in place for around six months to a year, according to Vivek Mohan, the director of wireless products for Semtech's Wireless and Sensing Products Group.

Semtech provides integrated, wireless connectivity solutions for home- and building-automation networks, as well as smart-city deployments. The proof-of-concepts are starting in a small scope, says Colin Adderley, an IT engineer for the City of Calgary. Once the city understands the business case, as well as risks for each use case, he explains, "We can focus on the benefits realization," not only for the city but also for its business partners, such as service providers.

At its Devonian Gardens, the City of Calgary's Parks Department is testing whether IoT technology can improve plant care and maintenance. The 7-acre, indoor botanical garden includes more than 500 trees, 50 varieties of plants (10,000 plants altogether), ponds, fountains and a playground. The gardens are located in the Core Shopping Centre.

The gardens require considerable care to ensure the health of each plant and tree. Because the gardens are indoors, plants depend on limited light from the skylights, as well as photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) to increase light exposure. The city is operating a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that serves both the Devonian Gardens and the mall, but the two locations have very different goals: the comfort of shoppers and optimal plant health.

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