IMC Blog

Building Tomorrow’s City Today with LoRa® Devices and the LoRaWAN® Protocol

  • February 19, 2020
  • imc

The world’s population is increasingly moving to cities, which has kicked off a quest to use smart city technologies to build sustainable infrastructure and provide greater efficiency. Smart city technologies are one way that governments and municipalities provide the sustainable services required to meet urban influx effectively. Semtech’s LoRa® devices and the LoRaWAN® protocol provide a smart sensing and control infrastructure, which allow cities to collect and analyze data from thousands of connected devices in a streamlined manner. This data can then be used to make intelligent decisions about services cities need to offer, the greatest demand being for water infrastructure and quality monitoring. LoRa devices deliver solutions that are optimized for those smart city applications relying on battery-powered sensors that need up to 10 years of battery life. Further, due to the interoperable nature of the LoRaWAN protocol and LoRa-based devices, a single network can accommodate all use cases, indoor and outdoor, within a city. An easy to deploy LoRaWAN-based network provides a compelling service offering to a city’s businesses and citizens. LoRa-based solutions are changing the way cities, governments and people interact.  
Until recently, cities and parking lot managers had no effective way to remotely inform drivers of vacancies, or notify them that lots were full. As a result, urban drivers spent an average of 20 minutes per trip in search of a parking spot and contributed up to 30 percent of the unnecessary traffic to cities’ already congested streets. PNI Sensor Corporation (PNI), a leading manufacturer of precision location and motion tracking systems, chose LoRa devices for its PlacePod™ solution, a high-accuracy smart parking sensor. The sensors use LoRa devices to communicate with Cloud-based parking management applications. This system notifies drivers of open spaces via their smartphones or other wireless devices. Following deployment of PNI’s solutions, cities with over a million citizens have seen an up to 25 percent reduction in traffic congestion and an increase of about 15 percent in parking meter efficiency. Read more about this innovative use case in Semtech’s blog.

Streetlights use a tremendous amount of a city’s energy; the operation of these lamps can sometimes represent up to 60 percent of a city’s entire energy bill. Furthermore, current streetlight models are not optimized to be as energy efficient as possible. Most streetlights operate only on binary “on, off” settings, on a fixed schedule. There is no way to dim the lights during twilight hours to conserve energy. Utilizing LoRa devices in a smart lighting application allows for remote lighting control to automatically adjust the amount of time lights are active. This minimizes energy costs without sacrificing public safety. Smart lighting solutions also reduce maintenance costs, and being connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) means these utilities can interact with other applications to drive increased efficiencies. The interoperable nature of the LoRaWAN protocol makes it easy to fit a smart lighting solution into a larger smart city network of applications. 

The City of Calgary in Alberta, Canada has deployed one of the first municipal LoRaWAN-based networks in North America. Calgary’s citywide network enables a wide range of unique applications from residential noise monitors, to tracking golf course pace-of-play and even helping exotic plant species grow indoors at the city’s Devonian Gardens botanical exhibit. Download a white paper for more about the city’s public network and unique applications.

Everyday municipal operations are made more efficient with LoRa devices’ long range, low- power, secure, and easy-to-use features. By connecting city services such as lighting, parking, waste removal, water distribution, and more, cities can optimize the use of resources and personnel to save time and expenses. Learn more about LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol for smart city applications on the Semtech website.

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