Building a better future for smart cities with LPWA

Increasingly, local governments around the world are trying to use the IoT to develop smart city applications designed to make their cities greener, safer and more efficient. The IoT’s ability to provide cities with real-time data on natural disasters, crimes, air pollution, traffic and other problems and conditions throughout a city, as well as help monitor and control lighting, water, waste collection, public parking and other critical infrastructure, make it an essential enabling technology for smart city applications, says Remy Marcotorchino, director Marketing, Industrial and Infrastructure, Sierra Wireless.

Unfortunately, until now the development of smart city IoT applications has proceeded by fits and starts — hindered by high IoT device costs and power requirements, as well as limited wireless coverage. However, the recent launch of two standards based Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) mobile IoT wireless technologies from the 3GPP governing body for cellular —  LTE-M (CAT-M1) and NB-IoT (CAT-NB1) — directly addresses these obstacles.

Thanks to their inherent security, cost, power and coverage advantages, these LPWA technologies empower cities to accelerate the roll out of new and improved air pollution monitoring, water management and other smart city IoT applications.

Improving air quality

Air quality smart city IoT applications deliver real-time access to air pollution data, as well the opportunity to analyse this data for insights on long term trends, making them a top priority for many city managers. Reducing pollution can make a significant positive impact on city residents welfare — according to a report by the Global Burden of Disease, air pollution is causing the annual deaths of more than 5.5 million people globally.

LPWA’s cost advantages allow the deployment of more air pollution sensors throughout a city. In addition, its low current requirements enable cities to just use batteries to power these devices, and not have to worry about connecting the sensors to the grid. In addition, LPWA’s ability to use standard cellular wireless networks, rather than proprietary networks, allows cities to deploy these sensors without building their own wireless networks from scratch.

With LPWA cities can therefore increase the number (and thus effectiveness) of sensors deployed on street lights, buildings and other infrastructures, and even look at innovative new places to install sensors. For instance, in 2016, the UK launched the Pigeon Air Patrol initiative in which pigeons were fitted with sensor-based harnesses to provide real-time air quality readings accessible to users who tweeted their location at the Pigeon Air Patrol’s Twitter account.

By deploying a larger number of LPWA sensors throughout their cities, city managers can use IoT smart city applications to secure a complete picture of both current and potential future pollution conditions, allowing them to more efficiently and effectively implement pollution mitigation policies that improve air quality.

Optimising water management

Just as city managers are trying to use smart city IoT applications to improve air quality, they are also trying to deploy applications that optimise management of another vital resource — water. Water waste is a particular problem for many cities, in that securing and treating the water needed by residents is expensive and can also lead to environmental problems.

LPWA’s low cost, low power usage and enhanced coverage advantages enable the deployment of more powerful and cost-effective water management smart city IoT applications. For example, with LPWA, the cost of deploying sensors that can detect leaks is significantly reduced. In addition, LPWA’s lower power requirements and more ubiquitous wireless coverage make it much easier to install sensors on underground or remote pipes, where traditional cellular wireless coverage and access to reliable sources of power can be limited.

Remy Marcotorchino

As growing city pollution and climate change make limiting water waste increasingly important, LPWA is helping support the implementation of smart city water management applications that minimise leaks and other water waste.

Enabling more extensive, powerful and cost-effective air quality and water management applications are just two examples of how LPWA is accelerating the development of smart cities. Thanks to its cost, power usage and coverage advantages, LPWA can also reduce improve the effectiveness of traffic, public safety, waste management and other smart city applications.

With LPWA, city managers now have the technology they need to more quickly develop and deploy smart city applications that help make city air cleaner, water use cheaper and more sustainable, streets safer, and living more enjoyable.

The author of this blog is Remy Marcotorchino, director Marketing, Industrial and Infrastructure, Sierra Wireless

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_OR @jcIoTnow

FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more
RECENT ARTICLES

IoT set to overtake cloud computing as primary Industry 4.0 technology, Inmarsat research reveals

Posted on: October 14, 2021

New research by Inmarsat, the provider of global mobile satellite communications, reveals that investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to overtake cloud computing, next generation security, big data analytics and other digital transformation technologies in the near future.

Read more

IDTechEx looks at the setbacks and explores how to move forward

Posted on: October 14, 2021

Bill Gates backed a Belmont smart city in the Arizona desert little has happened beyond a land purchase. Authorities demand that the Colorado river’s diminishing water supply is unharmed. Arizona suffers historic water shortage. The Southwest and much of the West is suffering from an intense 22-year drought, resulting in increasingly low water levels, dry

Read more