Smart city case study: How Calgary deployed its own LPWA network to build smart city apps (Reader Forum)
The internet of things (IoT) is a game-changer for enterprises and consumers, making every day operations more efficient for organizations and individuals.
As smart cities evolve, government agencies are prioritizing IoT initiatives, and deploying low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks to collect data, and using advanced cloud applications or enterprise-based systems to process and analyze this data.
The scale and scope of long-range LoRa wireless communication is being used to deliver real-time metrics with low installation and operational costs. This technology enables a large variety of applications to be implemented, such as sensors to measure parking and to improve waste and water management.
More cities are selecting LoRaWAN-based networks and LoRa technology for their IoT systems. Cities using LoRa technology for their IoT deployments are saving on two critical factors: time and money.
Over 20 years, the city of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, has worked to build a strong communications infrastructure, fostering innovation with internal city business units, civic partners, educational institutions and the broader industry.
The city’s commitment to innovation saw it conduct extensive research in building a secure and resilient IoT infrastructure, owned by the city itself. This is where Semtech came in. The Calgary team envisioned a ‘city network-of-things’ (CNoT) platform to be used by not only city officials, but by its business units and industry partners as well.
In 2016, Calgary’s became the first city-owned LoRaWAN network in North America. Calgary set a goal for a comprehensive smart city initiative through LoRaWAN to accelerate the adoption of IoT and industrial IoT services, to positively impact its population of over one million citizens.
With help from The University of Calgary, the City created a ‘Living Labs’ initiative that offers the city’s infrastructure and network to companies, researchers and individuals, allowing the testing of ideas in a real-world environment. This fosters growth and supports investment in the local economy.
Smart city applications
The LoRaWAN-based network is providing an efficient, flexible and economical solution for Calgary to implement IoT applications. From noise pollution to monitoring water usage, Calgary is taking advantage of the data from connected sensors to improve quality of life. Here are three examples:
By using Semtech’s LoRa chips, officials are able to monitor light, humidity, temperature and water of one of the largest indoor gardens in the world. Understanding these fundamental factors, Devonian Gardens is able to create a healthy environment for its 10,000 ground cover plants, 500 trees, a 900-square-foot living wall, koi ponds, and children’s play area.
Shanganappi Point Golf Course
The Shaganappi Point Golf Course recently celebrated its 100th year as the City’s first public golf course, making it a historical icon for residents. New LoRa-based sensors mean the pace of play on its 27-hole course and 44-stall driving range can be tracked to improve the management of the course and playing schedule. Data provides real-time and historical course usage data on a web dashboard. These efforts enhance the experience for golfers, increasing return rates and satisfaction.
The Urban Alliance
With a large population, it was a key priority for Calgary for control noise pollution. The University of Calgary and the Urban Alliance worked together to use LoRa-based sensors to characterize noise and initiate a pilot use case on Calgary’s LoRaWAN based network.
Calgary has become more sustainable by bringing openness to data sharing and technology. LoRaWAN was a major catalyst for this initiative. Its LoRaWAN network fosters innovation and accelerates IoT development. We continue to work with local innovators and startups to offer a placeto test their IoT solutions in the real-world.