Telus expands smart city offerings

  • November 2, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

From intelligent traffic systems and connected street lights, to artificial intelligence that provides insights to create smarter city planning, Canadian telco Telus is helping municipalities of any size improve the lives of their citizens

The company says it has accelerated its commitment to smart cities that empower municipalities to leverage technology and data in new ways to benefit residents’ health and safety, meet sustainability goals, and increase operational efficiencies.

So far, Telus has deployed IoT technologies to enable smart city services in more than 65 municipalities across Canada. These help city officials track infrastructure usage, save energy with intelligent lighting, improve traffic flow, decrease emergency response times, and more.

For residents, the result is a faster commute, getting the help they need faster in an emergency, safer neighbourhoods and public spaces, and cleaner air to breathe.

“Our smart city solutions are changing the way municipalities operate by delivering innovation to assist in public safety and security efforts, enabling the analysis of data in new ways to improve city operations and, ultimately, providing a better quality of life for residents,” said Jason Macdonnell, president of security and automation for Telus. “From intelligent traffic systems and connected street lights, to advanced artificial intelligence that provides insights to create smarter city planning, Telus smart city solutions enable municipalities of any size to improve the lives of their citizens. As our 5G network continues to roll out to both urban and rural communities across Canada, smart city solutions are well-positioned to provide even more value to municipalities and residents alike.”

Telus provides end-to-end offerings to support municipalities’ digital transformation, which is crucial to ensuring interoperability between systems, and means everything from hardware and IoT devices to management software, cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence capabilities, plus the connectivity necessary to realise the full potential, is covered by a single provider.

“Our long-standing expertise in providing both internet of things devices and connectivity to our customers underpins our commitment to enabling municipalities with advanced technologies to foster vibrant, thriving communities,” said Michael Cihra, VP of IoT at Telus. “With a solid foundation stemming from our experience in IoT, security, network infrastructure and connecting disparate technologies into cohesive systems, we are excited to now lend our expertise to delivering exceptional smart cities that improve the lives of Canadians.”

In addition to the 65 communities already deploying smart city technology across Canada, Telus continues to test and innovate with several active pilot projects that are expanding the capabilities of the technology in major metropolitan areas and less densely populated rural communities. These projects fall within four pillars:

  • Intelligent transportation: Sensors, cameras and other devices that are built into or near roads, pavements and bike paths, which provide data for software to improve traffic flow in real time. These data also help to inform decisions around infrastructure and city planning, fleet optimisation, and economic drivers such as tourism hot spots.
  • Operational and environmental sustainability: Increasing a municipality’s operational efficiencies not only saves time, money and human resources, but helps contribute to municipalities’ sustainability goals. These smart city services include connected lighting, energy management, environmental sensors and asset tracking.
  • Public safety and security: Smart city technology that contributes to public safety and security include video systems that provide not only on-premise security, but video and data analytics. Crucially, these systems aid in emergency response and event management scenarios, allowing for faster response times and better public safety.
  • Public health: In a time when public health is at the forefront of residents’ and municipalities’ minds, connected devices can aid in decision-making through virtual care, reducing the burden on the health system. For example, thermal imaging technology can help provide alerts of potential health concerns to reduce the spread of an infection. Smart city technologies can help keep communities healthy.

Telus is also partnering with others in the smart city space, including companies such as Miovision, a Canadian firm using computer vision, artificial intelligence and modelling to help cities modernise their approach to traffic management. Leveraging the Telus IoT network, Miovision-equipped traffic signals allow cities remotely to access, analyse and action data generated at intersections, easing traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions and making intersections safer for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Privacy is important. Telus’ smart cities technology is built using a data trust model, which incorporates principles of accountability, ethical use and transparency.

Telus has $15bn in annual revenue and 15.4 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security.