3 min reading
16 August 2021
16 August 2021
How Does LoRa Technology Transform Cities?
The City of Calgary has deployed LoRa®-based smart city solutions to better track and manage entertainment hot spots, city noise, and water conservation.
LoRa smart city technology enables businesses to automate and control infrastructure, including HVAC systems, smart waste management systems, traffic light maintenance, air pollution monitoring, enterprise-based systems, and critical building systems. LoRa low-cost IoT networks allow connected devices to operate for years without a power source, which makes it especially convenient for hard-to-reach locations. This technology eliminates the need for highly trained technicians to install sensors or perform complicated maintenance. Businesses can focus on business-critical tasks, such as security and customer care, rather than worrying about the equipment.
What is LoRa Technology?
LoRa stands for long-range, low-power, and secure wireless data transmission. LoRa-based wireless communication protocols use a physical silicon layer to transmit signals through low power networks. A smart city LoRa network is ideal for low-power sensors, as it allows for long-range communication with low power consumption, which is perfect for smart infrastructure. LoRa smart city mesh network solutions are easy to implement since the devices that use the technology are low-bandwidth and require low connection costs.
LoRa’s modulation process changes its frequency over time. This reduces the chance of incoming interference and the need to re-transmit data. It also means that LoRa devices require much less power and battery life, allowing them to function in many places. Besides, new emerging networks based on LoRa are much more sustainable than existing solutions. And since LoRa requires low asset deployment cost and narrowband signaling, it scales well with IoT growth. LoRa also provides low latency and selectable bandwidth, making it easy to integrate into your own local municipal network.
LoRa is a wireless technology that uses a physical silicon layer. It is scalable in frequency and bandwidth and can be used for narrowband frequency hopping and wideband sequence applications. It uses a constant envelope modulation scheme, which allows for a reduction in the output power compared to Frequency Shift Keying (FSK). Unlike FSK, LoRa’s signal is resistant to in-band interference mechanisms. As such, it is ideal for sensor networks without electrical networks.
LoRa uses a low-power wide-area network (LoRaWAN) specification to wirelessly connect battery-powered devices to the Internet. The LoRaWAN protocol determines when these devices transmit data. This enables seamless integration among sustainable services. This is one of the reasons why LoRa technology has made such a big impact on the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.
LoRaWAN network is such a type of network that is often used in smart city programs. These networks are designed to provide minimal network infrastructure, which can help to save on costs. In addition, LoRaWAN networks can be used to manage a variety of different types of devices and city services. This makes them a versatile option for many different applications.
Successful Smart City Solutions
In addition to the real-time monitoring of city activity in connected cities, smart city technology analyzes data from multiple sources and presents a comprehensive picture of dense urban areas. For example, smart city technologies can analyze data from traffic cameras and sensors, identify an accident that has blocked multiple lanes, and predict traffic congestion, so urban residents will be able to choose an alternative road with better traffic flow. Smart city applications can also dynamically send alerts to nearby major industry players and citizens. These emerging cellular-based solutions and LoRa-based solutions are the most efficient way to make cities smarter. A smart city can improve the quality of life for citizens, and help local communities thrive.
LoRa-based smart city solutions enable cities to monitor the activity of residents and visitors while keeping network management simple and reliable. In addition to implementing smart city technology, LoRa server-based application platforms provide coverage in places, where traditional Wi-Fi cannot. Improved city services, in turn, are cost-efficient. By combining both IoT-based predictive maintenance system and LoRa smart city program, smart cities can create a better quality of life for citizens, save money, and manage services such as smart parking and smart sensing in a better way.
Calgary Implementing Smart City Technology
LoRa-based smart city solutions are already being deployed throughout the City of Calgary. The City’s LoRaWAN-based network has set the stage for scalable growth and overall better quality of life for Calgary smart citizens. Smart city initiatives include new smart solutions powered by the Semtech LoRa-based devices, which measure temperatures, humidity, and light, creating a sustainable infrastructure. Developed through a strategic partnership between the University of Calgary and the City of Calgary, the LoRa technology network will eventually connect thousands of devices to provide real-time data on environmental conditions, waste management, parking spaces, pedestrian traffic, energy consumption, and other city systems.
TEKTELIC collaborated with Semtech to implement industry-leading Internet of Things (IoT) solutions presenting us with real-world situations that could benefit from the application of smart city technology. We are confident that smart technology is the ideal platform to tackle these challenges, reduce operational costs, and improve key systems in smart cities.
The City of Calgary has deployed LoRa®-based smart city solutions to better track and manage entertainment hot spots, city noise, and water conservation. The LoRaWAN®-based network has set the stage for scalable growth and improved implementation to further develop the City of Calgary into a Smart City with such features as smart governance, smart mobility, smart energy consumption, smart traffic lights, and other smart city trends.
“When people think of the Internet of Things, they have a mindset that it is very complicated. They may believe you need to have an internet service provider or cellular provider to get your devices set up to achieve long-range communication. But it is not the case with the LoRaWAN®” Majid Ghaderi, PhD Professor, Computer service department, University of Calgary.
TEKTELIC Contribution to Smart City Technology
As we already noted, in early 2016, the City of Calgary, Canada, launched an IoT complex coverage analysis to assess the potential benefits of Semtech LoRa devices and the LoRa technology for essential city service. The goal was to launch Proof-of-Concept trials to address the challenges municipalities face today. At the same time, TEKTELIC, being a member of the LoRa Alliance, was expanding from designing carrier-grade LoRa-based gateways to providing complete IoT solutions.
The city needed to monitor various environmental metrics at the Devonian Gardens, an indoor garden located in downtown Calgary. TEKTELIC responded by developing a solution for the sensing technology, network connectivity, and backend software infrastructure that was required to test the LoRa technology. Not only did this challenge give us an opportunity to develop a full, custom IoT solution from the ground up, but it also allowed us to evaluate and better understand LoRa as technology and provided us valuable insight into the benefits and capabilities of the LoRa Alliance platform.
The LoRaWAN®-based network initially started with three carrier-grade KONA Mega IoT Gateways installed on radio towers throughout the City. Each gateway provides up to a seven-mile radius of coverage in a dense urban environment, corresponding to the LoRa Alliance standards. The City of Calgary and the University of Calgary are collecting data on the network for various use cases, including smart agriculture, asset tracking, and noise monitoring.
The TEKTELIC Mega IoT gateway supports communications on two different frequency bands simultaneously, enabling simultaneous data transmission and reception. Unlike other gateways, it can simultaneously transmit and receive information. The gateway’s robustness was also key in allowing it to operate in harsh conditions, which are quite possible in smart cities. The gateway’s ability to support communications across multiple frequencies is a critical capability, allowing it to achieve high-quality service and improve overall network reliability.
The LoRaWAN® infrastructure is built with the city`s security considerations in place and is segregated from the corporate data network. The City of Calgary utilized components of the custom city initiatives based on LoRa technology we developed for other municipal applications including golf cart tracking at municipal golf courses and the integration of accessibility technologies for disabled workers and guests in municipal buildings and offices.
How to Implement LoRa Network?
LoRa Technology is a low-power, GPS-free, long-range wireless network that can be integrated into smart cities to monitor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, traffic lights, traffic congestion, waste collection routes, and other smart city technology means. LoRa can help smart cities optimize the use of personnel and utilities. Smart city applications are also ideal for hard-to-reach locations. LoRa devices and a LoRaWAN network can be implemented in smart islands. The data collected from such islands can be used to control energy consumption, reduce energy costs, and improve overall city safety.
The physical layer of the LoRaWAN technology can extend up to 5 km in urban areas. It is resistant to high levels of interference, multi-path, and Doppler effects. It can withstand the movement of moving objects but must be tested with moving objects. LoRaWAN deployment in cities requires proper network configuration and applications. There are several end-devices with LoRa transmitters, which promise real-time location tracking.
A good example of a transmitter with GPS holdover is TEKTELIC KONA Mega Ex Gateway. This gateway is ideal for smart city applications since it is ATEX/Zone II Certified, which means it can withstand extreme weather conditions. It can even keep working in the environment with combustible gasses, vapors, or liquids. KONA Mega Ex Gateway can be used for private and public networks that require Full Duplex, multiple Rx, and Tx Channels.
LoRaWAN is a wireless sensor network whose signaling is strong enough to penetrate buildings and dense urban environments. The LoRa based gateway is capable of covering multiple buildings within a range of 2 kilometers. LoRa Alliance is a fast-growing industry consortium of over 400 companies, including major players and start-ups. The LoRa Alliance has many different sources of supply and certifies sensors and TEKTELIC is proud to be a part of it.
LoRaWAN is an open, non-cellular LPWAN technology. LoRa is widely deployed across the globe, with more than 70 network operators. It has a robust ecosystem of hardware vendors, developers, and partners in different smart cities. For cities, it’s a smart option for a low-power connectivity solution. It’s a smart way to monitor and manage city infrastructure, monitoring traffic lights, and other services. There are no licenses, and LoRa devices can run for years on a single battery.
Why is LoRa Technology Worth Implementing in Smart Cities?
LoRa technology is a battery-powered wireless network with long-range, low power, and GPS-free capabilities. By connecting battery-powered “things” in a city, cities can save money and time. Data collected from these connected devices can be incorporated into the systems in the city to trigger notifications and activate processes. By enabling these devices to work in harmony with existing city systems, cities can save time and money while optimizing services and processes.
The TEKTELIC Contribution to smart cities with LoRa technology will enable cities to monitor, manage and improve traffic and transportation systems, as well as many other processes within the city. It will also provide the data needed to better plan resources and optimize service levels. Smart city solutions are key to improving quality of life, reducing operational costs, and enabling cities to operate more efficiently. So, what are you waiting for? Get connected today and start improving your life!
If you have any further questions, write to the TEKTELIC support team via firstname.lastname@example.org