Category Archives: Smart Cities

Toyota to build Woven City prototype Smart City of the future

20200107_01_01-1000x525Toyota has revealed plans to build Woven-City a prototype “city” of the future on a 175-acre site at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Announced at CES 2020, the global consumer technology show in Las Vegas, the Woven City will be a fully connected ecosystem, powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

 Envisioned as a “living laboratory,” the city will be home to full-time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.

 Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President, said: “Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the infrastructure. With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology, in both the virtual and physical realms, maximising its potential.”

 Toyota will extend an open invitation to collaborate to other commercial and academic partners and invite interested scientists and researchers from around the world to come and work on their projects in this one-of-a-kind, real-world incubator.

 “We welcome all those inspired to improve the way we live in the future to take advantage of his unique research ecosystem and join us in our quest to create an ever-better way of life and mobility for all,” said Akio Toyoda.

Toyota has commissioned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), to design Woven City. His team has designed many high-profile projects, from 2 World Trade Center in New York and Lego House in Denmark, to Google’s Mountain View and London headquarters.

 Design of the city

Under the city’s masterplan, street use has three designations: for faster vehicles only; for a mix of lower-speed vehicles, personal mobility and pedestrians; and for pedestrians only (a park-like promenade). These three street types will weave together in an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomous transport.

 The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood using traditional Japanese joinery and robotised production methods, to minimise the carbon footprint. The roofs will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power, adding to the energy produced by hydrogen fuel cells. Toyota also plans to weave in the natural world throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.

 Residential buildings will be equipped with the latest human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. Homes will use sensor-based AI to check the occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life. The project will be an opportunity to deploy connected technology with integrity and trust, securely and positively.

 Only fully autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares to move residents around. Throughout the city, autonomous Toyota e-Palette vehicles will be used for transport and deliveries, and as changeable mobile retail units.

 Neighbourhood parks, a large central recreation area and a central plaza for social gatherings will be designed to bring the community together. Toyota believes that encouraging human connection will be an equally important aspect of the Woven City experience.

 Toyota plans to populate Woven City with employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists and industry partners. The plan is to start with 2,000 people and increase the number as the city evolves.

Ground-breaking for the site is scheduled for early 2021. Those interested in partnering with the project can find more details at Woven-city.global.

 Source: Toyota

 

CLASS software framework makes Modena smarter in real-life setting

Cutting-edge software technology developed by the European project CLASS is now being tested on connected cars in the Modena Automotive Smart Area (MASA), a real urban laboratory in northern Italy. The CLASS framework is powering compelling smart city applications, from digital traffic signs and smart parking to air pollution simulation and pedestrian avoidance applications.

Allowing the execution of big-data analytics under real-time constraints, the CLASS software architecture provides a solution to the problems of managing extremely large amounts of complex data (pedestrians, traffic, vehicles, etc.) in real time. Data-in-motion and data-at-rest analytics are integrated into a single development framework, which works with real-time guarantees.

“It’s thrilling to see our technology powering the smart city use cases which will make our urban areas safer and less congested,” said Eduardo Quiñones, senior researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and coordinator of the CLASS project. “Thanks to its capacity to process big data analytics under real-time constraints, the CLASS framework is a significant step towards making safe connected vehicles a reality.”

“With the MASA, the city of Modena is combining the proud Italian tradition of high-end cars with the needs of modern smart cities,” said Luca Chiantore, manager of the department of Smart city, demographic services and participation of the Modena City Council. “We are delighted to be testing out the most innovative smart-city technologies, paving the way towards a truly responsive urban area which will improve quality of life for all citizens.”

The first outcomes of this smart city use case resulted in different applications, which will improve the traffic and pollution conditions of modern urban environments.

All the software architecture components have been defined and are available to download on the dedicated CLASS GitHub channel: https://github.com/class-euproject

Demonstration of moving vehicles and pedestrians in real-time in the MASA area

A real smart city use case in Modena

The CLASS software is being evaluated in the Modena Automotive Smart Area (MASA), a real urban laboratory in the city of Modena. Data is already being generated and collected from IoT devices and sensors located in the MASA and on the high-tech equipped Maserati cars.

Initial tests started generating a knowledge base with combined information of the city and the cars, upon which the following advanced smart city applications are being implemented:

  • The Digital traffic sign application allows for evaluating and improving real-time traffic conditions by advising on best routes available, for instance in the case of accidents or emergency vehicles.
  • The Air pollution simulation estimates the pollution emissions of the moving vehicles in real-time.
  • The Smart parking gathers and provides real-time data on the available parking lots within the area.
  • The Obstacle detection warns the drivers about pedestrians and objects that appear on their way, even if it is not visible to the car.

CLASS vehicle detecting parking space

About CLASS

CLASS (Edge and Cloud Computation: A Highly Distributed Software for Big Data Analytics) is a European funded project with a budget of €3.9 million which started on 1 January 2018 and ends on 31 December 2020. Coordinated by Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Spain), the project brings together a multidisciplinary consortium composed by all stakeholders needed for the development of business innovations using real big-data including vendors from the ICT industry such as Atos Spain S.A. (Spain) and IBM Israel, users across different smart city domain sectors including private and public organizations such as the Comune di Modena (Italy) and Maserati SPA (Italy) and researchers such as the Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE, Italy). Further information can be found on the project website: www.class-project.eu.

 

New York tops the latest Innovation Cities Index

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New York tops the 12th annual list of the world’s most innovative cities, compiled by 2thinknow. The Big Apple leapfrogged last year’s leaders, Tokyo, London and San Francisco.

 2thinknow said New York had embraced a “more human and sustainable lifestyle, start-up economy and new smart technologies” and was the winner despite Tokyo’s tech edge in burgeoning fields like robotics. New York’s Hudson Yards development and High Line park are symbols of how the city is managing to forge “a new way in innovation”, according to the analysts. 2thinknow said New York had embraced a “more human and sustainable lifestyle, start-up economy and new smart technologies” and was the winner despite Tokyo’s tech edge in burgeoning fields like robotics.

 The Innovation Cities Index aims to measure the development of innovation economies globally. It is based on what 2thinknow defines as the three preconditions for innovation: cultural assets, human infrastructure and networked markets. 500 cities are benchmarked for the annual report, from 2thinknow’s City Benchmarking Data set of over 2,000 cities. 2thinknow scores cities on 162 indicators, including start-up economy, 13 mobility indicators, sustainability, neighbourhoods and technology, among others.

 The top 10 New York, Tokyo, London, Los Angeles, Singapore, Paris, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Toronto, Movers and shakers For the first time, 11 of the top 20 cities in the Index are in the United States.

 “What really surprised us this year was a United States bounce-back at the top of the league,” said Christopher Hire, Director of 2thinknow. “However, there were quite dramatic movements by cities up and down all across the USA, and globally as well – highlighting strong volatility and shortening the time window for commercialising new ideas.

 ” The remainder of the cities are in Europe and Asia. Singapore came in at number five thanks to its strong tech, mobility and infrastructure improvements. Paris follows at six, due to its recent rail refurbishment programmes and start-up sector, which 2thinknow said are “a symbol of some resurgent French innovation”.

Los Angeles’ strong entertainment and tech sector saw it climb one place to fourth position. Chicago entered the top ten for the first time, noted for its burgeoning start-ups, innovation seeding across many industries, a sustainable food scene and top-ranked universities. Boston, meanwhile, has remained in the global top ten every year the ranking has been published. Detroit moved up 25 places, which 2thinknow put down to the mobility sector becoming more important to the global economy.

 Detroit moved up 25 places, which 2thinknow put down to the mobility sector becoming more important to the global economy. Other US cities moving up more than 25 places included Louisville (Kentucky), Dayton (Ohio) and San Antonio (Texas). UK’s hidden gems, Africa’s rising tide In Asia, despite the trade dispute, Chinese cities Shenzhen (53) and Beijing (up 11 places to 26) both rose for innovation. Jakarta (119) rose 58 places based on its start-up sector, growth and new reforms. Predictably, London dominates the UK rankings but several other cities stand out too, including Birmingham (up 23 places), Nottingham (up 44 places) and Newcastle (up 19 places).

 In Europe, German cities are led by Berlin (12), followed by Munich (27, down 6 places) and Hamburg (46). Barcelona regained its long-term innovation status, rising to 21st globally, ahead of Madrid in 28th place. In Australia, Melbourne (11) became the top city in Australia, beating Sydney (15) for the first time in the list. Although African cities continue to be among the lowest-ranked, there are signs of a “rising tide”. The average ranking of top African cities rose two per cent. Keeping up “Our Index is designed to measure innovation conditions and often predicts rising cities before other rankings. It is up to the city whether they can keep on top of the latest trends and exploit their innovation potential [on an ongoing basis]. Cities that place well every year do that, which is not as simple as it sounds for urban areas to adapt and transform,” said Hire.

 Source: Sarah Wray-Smart Cities World

How army of drones and robots could make Leeds the world’s first self-repairing city

Leeds could become the first ‘self-repairing city’ in the world by 2035 as robotics engineers work on developing drones that can prevent potholes.

Chris Burn reports. Leeds, 2035. Moments after scanning a city road and identifying a crack in the surface around the size of a 50p piece on a night-time patrol, a drone navigates itself down to the site of the problem, lands and fills in the defect using a 3D asphalt printer. What could have eventually developed into a serious pothole is fixed instantly and the drone flies off to search for its next assignment.

Professor Rob Richardson, from The School of Mechanical Engineering, at University of Leeds, along with his team are pioneering the use of robotic drone technology to repair potholes in the future as part of a Government-funded project called ‘Self Repairing Cities’.

It is a scenario that, despite the increasing prominence of drones in daily life, still sounds like science-fiction. But for the past three years, a team of robotics engineers at the University of Leeds’s School of Mechanical Engineering have been making considerable progress on turning the concept into a reality as they work on a multi-million pound, Government-supported project to turn potholes into a thing of the past.

Like almost every city and town in the country, Leeds has a considerable pothole problem – with over 10,000 reported to the council by members of the public between 2014 and 2017. But the city could soon be leading the way globally in dealing with the problem, as well as deploying drones to repair street lights and sending hybrid robots to live in utility pipes which they continually inspect, monitor and repair when necessary. It is all part of a wider scientific ambition called ‘Self-Repairing Cities’ that has the ambitious aim of ensuring there is no disruption from streetworks in UK cities by 2050.

The vision for the project states: “With the aid of Leeds City Council, we want to make Leeds the first city in the world that is fully maintained autonomously by 2035.” Professor Rob Richardson, operational director for the robotics element of the project, says despite the major changes potentially on the horizon, it should not mean drones constantly buzzing over everyone’s heads. “We see them as being like urban foxes,” he explains. “There are not going to be drones over your head constantly. You might see them in particular times of day in particular places but you won’t see them all the time. It wouldn’t be invasive.” The drones could be in operation in Leeds by 2035.

The five-year project, officially called ‘Balancing the Impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural Systems Using Robots’, started back in January 2016 after £4.2m of funding was secured from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. It was one of seven ‘Engineering Grand Challenges’ awarded money by the agency to provide innovative solutions to issues such as tackling air pollution.

The Leeds scheme is also being supported by researchers from the universities Birmingham, Southampton and University College London, with project partners including Leeds Council, Balfour Beatty, the National Grid and Yorkshire Water. One of the main achievements of the projects to date has been combined work by the UCL and Leeds teams on developing 3D asphalt printing technology – which Richardson describes as a “world-first” – that can be used by the drones.

Work is now taking place on developing a scanning and decision-making system for such drones. Richardson says there are other possibilities for identifying small cracks in the road surface, such as through self-driving cars, buses and bin lorries that would have scanners attached to them as they went about their normal operations in ‘smart cities’ that use electronically-collected data to manage resources such as traffic lights effectively. The system would also allow for temporary road closures if necessary when drones are working on repairs. The investment of public money is dwarfed by the amounts currently spent on dealing with potholes alone.

In last October’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond assigned an extra £420m to local councils for tackling potholes on top of an existing fund of £300m, while the annual cost of resurfacing roads in the UK is estimated to be more than £1bn. Richardson says the potential benefits go beyond immediate financial implications. “Right now, if you have got a bad pothole, you need people, big vehicles and disruption through closing the road and causing pollution to get rid of it,” he explains. “We want to change that and repair things before they become potholes.” Richardson adds the current costs for repairing potholes are difficult to estimate. “You can look at the cost of a person and the hours they work to do it. But the real cost is if there are not prompt repairs, roads gets further damaged.

If you have to close roads for long periods of time, congestion and pollution builds up. There are wider costs far more than a worker’s hourly rate. Our vision is by 2035 to have this kind of technology in a city, with potentially Leeds being the first one. Our grand vision is by 2050 that the whole of the UK will have self-repairing cities. At the end of the five years we want to show what can be done.” How Leeds could become world’s first city to use drones to prevent potholes While such changes may make life better for drivers and council budgets, there would obviously be an impact on employment as technology may make many jobs redundant.

The hope is for a “win-win situation” where better jobs are created, taxpayers’ money is used more efficiently and our air, water and wildlife are protected – but a mid-term report examining the progress of the project to date has suggested it may not be quite so simple. “In the past, every industrial revolution has seen existing jobs become obsolete, labour being replaced with machines, and yet new tasks have emerged that acted as a counterbalance to the displacement of workers,” it says. “Similar to the past, the robotics and AI revolution is set to displace a large proportion of the current workforce. But the concern this time is that if robots/AI can learn most of the new tasks, the creation of new jobs may not be a sufficient counterbalance for the loss of obsolete ones.

With uncertainty writ large over this revolution, it will be the responsibility of the state to safeguard the interest of all members of society and make sure that those who stand to lose the most from impending disruptions do not fall through the cracks.” The major disruption at Gatwick airport around Christmas in which drone sightings grounded about 1,000 flights raised public concerns about the use of the technology.

Leeds and Southampton universities have already been working with the cities of Bradford and Southampton to identify potential challenges and risks and find a safe way of overcoming them. Drones have been used to provide real-time information to firefighters in Bradford to give early warning of structural problems and identify hotspots and people in need of help at incidents.

Richardson says: “Smart cities currently check data and understand people flow. That doesn’t do proactive systems. But we are talking about cities that are able to understand what is happening and be able to react and do things. “All of this stuff is overseen by people, they are systems based on a framework set and regulated by humans. As with all technology, regulations are there for a reason. If it is done correctly, it brings good.” Project achievements growing Achievements of the project so far include creating technology to 3D print asphalt which is tougher than ordinary asphalt and demonstrating that a printer can be attached to a drone, flown to a damage location and operated. Other developments include an inspection robot that can operate autonomously in a one-inch pipe,

with wireless power transfer for charging and the simulation of how cheap ‘disposable’ robots can efficiently locate potholes or other defects in roads. A spokesman said: “The findings will be used to develop the next generation of robots for infrastructure inspection and repair, but with applications in any field that might benefit from the introduction of robotics and autonomous systems.”

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

 

Smart City Connected Roadway Solutions

Iteris and Cisco Partner to Deliver Smart City Connected Roadway Solutions

Launching in Las Vegas, Initiative Seeks to Make Nation’s Roadways Safer and More Efficient

  • Strategic partnership will see integration of Iteris’ video detection platform with Cisco Kinetic’s advanced networking capabilities
  • Collaborative programs will focus on pedestrian safety and connected vehicle applications

SANTA ANA, Calif. – January 14, 2019 – Iteris, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITI), the global leader in applied informatics for transportation and agriculture, today announced a strategic partnership with Cisco that will promote Cisco’s Connected Roadway solution through several initiatives between the two companies.

Iteris and Cisco have deployed an edge-processing internet-of-things (IoT) solution with the City of Las Vegas that will combine data feeds from the Iteris Vantage Next video detection platform with the Cisco Kinetic software solution to analyze multimodal data from vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians for a number of high-value use cases to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.

Pedestrian safety and connected vehicle applications in particular will be highlighted throughout the collaborative program, which will include a demonstration at the Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator during this week’s The Innovator’s Forum in Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas is renowned for its heavy pedestrian traffic, so we are constantly working to deploy innovative, multimodal technologies to better manage the flow of vehicles and people,” said Michael Sherwood, director of information technologies at the City of Las Vegas. “Iteris’ integration with Cisco’s Connected Roadway solution will produce insights that highlight the advantages video detection and advanced networking can have on a city’s transportation system.”

“We are excited to showcase how seamlessly Iteris’ advanced video detection integrates with Cisco’s industry-leading networking capabilities to ultimately enhance safety and mobility across the nation’s transportation networks,” said Todd Kreter, senior vice president and general manager, Roadway Sensors at Iteris. “Iteris has been a key proponent of connected vehicle integration for many years and this partnership with Cisco is further testament to our dedication to advancing multimodal safety technology throughout our business.”

Additionally, through a broader partnership agreement, Iteris and Cisco will address smart city initiatives through joint sales and co-marketing activities to key accounts across the United States. This will include highlighting the integration of Cisco communication systems into current and future projects, ensuring its mutual customers have the most secure and reliable communication infrastructure for their end-to-end transportation systems. In addition, by integrating Cisco hardware and software at the edge, the Iteris intersection-as-a-service™ offering will be able to support advanced capabilities for edge processing, as well as larger data sets and connected vehicles applications.

Future integration of Iteris video and radar detection sensors with the Cisco Kinetic platform will be showcased at intelligent transportation systems conferences throughout the year, including the upcoming ITS America Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from June 4-7, 2019.

Source: Iteris

How Smart City and IoT Technologies Help Governments & Communities

IOT-networksFrom Traffic Lights to First Responders, Agencies Implement 4G LTE as Part of Smart City Initiatives

The definition of “Smart City” is seemingly as broad as its potential. To some, it’s about building roadways with sensors embedded in the ground. The next person might view first responders as the best example of Smart City technology. Others include schools and healthcare in their Smart City vernacular.

While the definition and scope of Smart Cities is up for debate, most agree on the benefits of these technologies: increased operational efficiency for governments — much of which is based on actionable IoT data — and improved services and quality of life for citizens.

“A smart city is a municipality that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public, and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare,” according to TechTarget. Even this excellent definition of a Smart City barely scratches the surface at conveying what’s possible in cities, states, and countries in every area of the world.

Gartner notes that “Urban challenges such as safety and security, traffic congestion, aging infrastructure, and even responses to events like climate change and disasters have often been addressed by silo-based departments. However, more and more city governments are moving toward smart city solutions that leverage IoT technologies.”

For many governments, 4G LTE — with 5G on the horizon — and cloud-based network management are providing the reliability, visibility, and flexibility necessary to keep Smart City edge technologies connected to agency networks at all times.

Police Vehicles

Police vehicles ensure access to mission-critical applications and communication tools by leveraging dual-modem in-vehicle routers that support instant failover from one carrier to another, as well as intelligent traffic steering based on performance factors such as latency, jitter, signal strength, and data usage.

Schools

Whether on campus or on the bus, students are benefitting from 4G LTE solutions that provide constant access to WiFi and to the swiftly expanding number of online education apps that are part of their day-to-day learning.

Fire Apparatus

The ability of firefighters to access building schematics, HazMat data, and traffic information en route to a blaze improves response time and better prepares them for the dangerous scenario at hand.

Video Surveillance

With remote access to video surveillance, agencies can capture and analyze video footage to pinpoint and prevent theft, illegal dumping, and other suspicious activity. As 5G rolls out and evolves, live streaming of surveillance footage will become more common.

Public Transit

Vehicle tracking, telematics, real-time route data for riders, passenger WiFi, on-board CCTV surveillance, and digital fare boxes are among the many connected technologies used on today’s metro buses. Transit fleet managers also use cloud management tools to make firmware, configuration, and security updates without having to bring every vehicle to headquarters.

 

Source: Cradlepoint

Montgenèvre brings smart cities to the ski slopes through joint Smart Resort initiative with Orange Business Services

images

  • Real-time information for tourists and residents via a mobile app and free Wi-Fi across the resort
  • Data analysis to boost the resort’s economic and tourism development

Orange Business Services has announced its first “Smart Resort” in Montgenèvre, in the Alps, as part of a concept that will be developed across of France.
Montgenèvre’s digital transformation is being coordinated through a “smart city” strategy, combining free Wi-Fi, a mobile app available from early December on iOS and Android, and big data analytics. The objectives are threefold: enhancing the mountain experience, making life easier for residents and visitors, and supporting the economic and tourism development of one of the oldest ski resorts in France.
An enriched experience for tourists and residents

The Montgenèvre mobile app brings together all the information that tourists need, wherever they need it. It allows them to access real-time information about ski lifts, piste openings in winter, or golf courses during the rest of the tourist season, for example. The free mobile app is available in English as well as French, Italian, and comes in both winter and summer versions. In addition, a total of 31 Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up throughout the resort to allow users to fully benefit from all the app’s features.
Skiers can check the snow reports and avalanche warnings and see the current conditions in real time from the webcams located at the side of the pistes. An interactive map available via the application lets you explore the whole of the skiing area in high resolution 3D images, with pistes mapped and detailed, showing route, slope, length, and difficulty.

 

Solutions for sustainable economic development

The smart resort solution allows Montgenèvre to provide visitors or residents with a truly connected city experience. Montgenèvre sends information or customized services to users when they need it, such as shuttle bus schedules and information on local cultural activities based on the user’s interests, designed to boost local economic activity.
With the Flux Vision solution from Orange Business Services, Montgenèvre also has a means of analyzing population flow statistics throughout the year or around a particular event. This process, which collects and uses anonymized data from Orange’s public mobile network, helps in decision making when important choices must be made to improve tourist services in the valley.
“For Montgenèvre, becoming a Smart Resort means offering better living conditions and leisure activities for all users of the resort, be they tourists or residents. It strengthens economic and social activity in our region and responds to the challenges of the city of the future, but in a sustainable way,” commented Guy Hermitte, Mayor of Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes region).
“Orange, through its Smart Cities entity, is proud to provide its expertise in the digital transformation of cities and regions to the Montgenèvre resort, by offering innovative solutions for connectivity, mobile applications and data analysis for the benefit of visitors and residents,” commented Delphine Woussen, Director of Orange Smart Cities within Orange Business Services.
The application is scalable and will continuously be updated to meet user needs.

Source: TNS-Sofres, June 2017: “Les Français connectés en vacances” (“Staying connected on vacation”)

Source: Orange

The first Smart Vineyard in Lebanon chooses Libelium’s technology to face the climate change

Precision agriculture is gaining presence among the most delicate and challenging cultivations. Viticulture, which has been extremely linked to the progress of the seasons and the variations in temperatures, is becoming a great indicator of climate change.

Experts verify that the most influential factors for the correct growth of the grapes are temperature and hydrological stress. Heavy rains, high temperatures and prolonged drought periods are the most harmful meteorological phenomenons.

Location of Lebanon

Location of Lebanon

Precision viticulture seeks to maximize the oenology potential of the vineyards, adapting to extreme conditions, in order to obtain a high quality standard and to augment the productivity of the crops.

In this adaptation process to the new climate conditions, several wine-growing companies are redefining their strategy, implementing Libelium’s sensors in their fields. By knowing the conditions that affects the vines’ growth, the winemakers and oenologists can calibrate the different parameters that give character and quality to the wine. For instance, tanines and anthocyanin pigments that bring color to the wine depend on the ambient humidity and CO2 levels. Climate conditions and temperature changes also influence the wine’s acidity, which has to be elevated so the wines can last longer.

There are various well-known wine regions all over the world, having the Mediterranean the longest history of wine production. Specifically, Lebanon has been center of the wine industry for centuries, being point of origin for this tradition all over the Mediterranean area.

Château Kefraya vineyards at Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Château Kefraya vineyards at Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Château Kefraya is one of the most modern wineries in the country. Located in Beqaa Valley, extends its vineyards over more than 300 hectares at 1000 meters above the sea level. This company has trusted the experience and know-how of Libatel, leading Information and Communication Technology Systems Integrator, to deploy an agriculture sensor system in its fields, based on Libelium’s technology.

Libatel is a privately-held company established in Beirut, with offices in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. This company has a highly trained, motivated and efficient team who totally committed to deliver advanced systems, communications and software integration for businesses of all sizes, across all industries, in the private and public sectors.

Libatel, in collaboration with Ogero TelecomUniversité Saint-Joseph ESIAM and Château Kefraya winery, have developed an agriculture sensor network for vineyards based on Libelium wireless sensor network. The main aim of this viticulture precision project is to compile soil and climate information and their effects in the grapes.

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO nodes installation by Libatel team

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO nodes installation by Libatel team

The information, automatically gathered by the sensors, is analyzed and different techniques are compared. Until now, parameters were measured manually in a hard, long and expensive process. This new sensors network offers quicker and clearer results.

Libatel has installed several measuring points all over the vineyard to monitor relative humidity, temperature, and soil humidity, among others. Compiled real-time data is sent to the back-end platform, specially designed by Libatel, where is analyzed. This information is accessible from a computer or a smartphone, allowing the winery workers to obtain data automatically and to take decisions in a quicker and more efficient way. For instance, they can determine where, when and for how long a vineyard should be irrigated to optimize resources obtaining the best results.

PRECISION VITICULTURE

This project named “Precision Viticulture” includes eight Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO nodes:

  • Six nodes have been installed in different locations in the vineyard, directly at the grapevine trunk, on grape level.
  • One node has been installed next to the vineyard, the objective of this node is to compare the external weather conditions with the grapevine micro-climate.
  • The latest measuring point is saved for various testing purposes and debugging.

Location of the nodes at Château Kefraya vineyards

Location of the nodes at Château Kefraya vineyards

Every device is installed in a representative grapevine in each parcel. The first six nodes have been deployed next to the vines and have been distributed in a manner to cover all the parcels depending on their configuration: altitude, type of soil, training system, plantation density, vigor and slope.

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO on grape level

Waspmote Plug & Sense! Smart Agriculture PRO on grape level

The parameters monitored in all locations are:

  • Temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure.
  • Solar radiation.
  • Soil humidity.
  • Soil temperature.
  • Luminosity (luxes accuracy).

Ogero Telecom, the main telecom operator in Lebanon, which collaborates in this deployment, is working on the design of an IoT LoRaWAN network over the country. This network allows universities, institutions and private companies to benefit from this infrastructure for their research projects.

Libatel team installing Kerlink Gateway

Libatel team installing Kerlink Gateway

The information compiled by the sensors is directly sent to the Kerlink Gateway using LoRaWAN communication protocol. Once the information is received by the gateway, data is sent via 3G internet connectivity through SIM card to the Actility’s cloud platform and to Libatel private servers consecutively, where dashboard and applications are developed.

Actility Thinkpark platform panel

This way Château Kefraya becomes the first Smart Vineyard in Lebanon thanks to Libelium technology and Libatel software development, which also includes support and maintenance for the whole system.

Diagram of Precision Viticulture

Diagram of Precision Viticulture

The major objectives of this project are to increase productivity and efficiency of the crops, improving customer service quality and adaptability to external elements.

  • Automating data collection.
  • Remotely monitoring micro-climate parameters inside the vineyard.
  • Accessing real-time data from any device at any time.
  • Collecting data to inform both current and future work.
  • Resolving problems with insightful analytics.

This tool allows the agricultural engineers to take more accurate decisions to better adapt to changes and new circumstances in order to produce high quality wine, preserving its character and features.

Libatel online dashboard application

Libatel online dashboard application

This project also contributes to the implementation of LoRaWAN networks in the Lebanese territory, consolidating the Internet of Things in this country.

Maher Choufani, IoT Project Manager at Libatel, highlights that “the main reason why we chose Libelium is their great name in the sector. Besides, the company has large experience with similar cases in precision viticulture and agriculture”.

Waspmote is a horizontal sensor platform that allows us to add many sensors to one sensing node. The Libelium IoT sensor platform offers exceptional interoperability and the fact that Libelium achieved projects previously with Actility and Kerlink, which we partnered for this project, determined our decision undoubtedly”, adds Maher Choufani.

For Mr. Imad Kreidieh, Chairman and General Director Ogero Telecom, “the project was very successful and motivating, especially in terms of improving productivity and agriculture which we depend on in exporting our goods”.

The end user, Château Kefraya winery, makes emphasis in the “improvement of the automatic data collection thanks to the Libelium sensor platform. This system enables us to obtain real-time information, expanding our knowledge and allowing us to better manage our time and resources”.

Source: Libelium

This Dutch town has traffic lights on the ground because people are staring at their phones

Image: REUTERS/Phil Noble

A Dutch town has introduced an unusual way of trying to keep smartphone-addicted residents safe: Installing traffic lights in the pavement.

Bodegraven, in the Netherlands, has put strip lights in the floor at a pedestrian crossing — meaning people who stare at their phones all day will see them, preventing them from wandering dangerously into traffic. (We heard about the news via the BBC.)

Apart from their unusual location, they work just like ordinary traffic lights: Green means go, and red means wait.

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Image: HIG Traffic Systems

The lights are built by HIG Traffic Systems, a company based in the town, which hopes to sell them more widely to other towns and cities, The Guardian reports. Right now they’re just being used at a single intersection in a trial.

A spokesperson for the company told Dutch-language site OmroepWest:“Smartphone use by pedestrians and cyclists is a major problem. Trams in The Hague regularly make an emergency stop because someone looks at their smartphone instead of traffic.”

However, the lights have also proved controversial. “It’s not a good idea to help mobile phone users look at their phones,” Dutch Traffic Safety Association employee Jose de Jong reportedly said.

“We don’t want people to use phones when they’re dealing with traffic, even when walking around. People must always look around them, to check if cars are actually stopping at the red signals.”

Source: World Economic Forum

How can we ensure Asia’s future cities are both smart, and sustainable?

shanghai

A quick online search on the current most populous cities in the world will reveal a list where half, if not more, of the top 10 cities are in Asia. If you were to walk down the busy streets of Jakarta, Tokyo, Manila or Seoul, you may find yourself thinking that everyone in these countries have moved to the city, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. We are undergoing a major rural to urban demographic shift. There are already more people living in cities than in rural areas, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will be city dwellers.

With so many people moving to cities, how cities are structured will impact the lives of billions of people. In some respects, this elevates cities above nation states as significant incubators of innovation, enterprise, and social progress. At the same time, the required pace of change, especially now where we face global economic, environmental, and social uncertainty – creates a raft of challenges to sustainable development.

Connecting the city

It’s crucial that cities adopt smart, sustainable development practices. Harnessing the potential of ICT and connectivity will enable cities to thrive without their development taking a major toll on already-scarce resources. ICT allows people, knowledge, and devices to be networked in new ways, and cities that embrace ICT’s potential can create new value, operate efficiently and benefit from significant return on investments. All this adds up to more livable, more attractive, and ultimately more competitive cities, as well as the potential for people to pursue a more sustainable urban future. It is also addressing sustainable urbanization which includes the dynamic between urban and rural areas.

The significance of cities is well recognized in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 – sustainable cities and communities. If we go back to considering the most populous cities in Asia, each city faces many complex problems that require different types of action – but we see that a common enabler across the board is Information and Communications Technology. A paper published in 2015 by the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Ericsson, states that ICT can accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. This is in line with our own research and beliefs in Ericsson about ICT and its potential to help create the cities of our future. Higher ICT maturity levels for cities are associated with more opportunities to transform lifestyles and economic prospects.

For ASEAN countries, broadband, based on a combination of both fixed and wireless technologies, can help significantly accelerate sustainable growth in cities. Therefore, there should be a national agenda when it comes to broadband and concerted efforts to improve the business case for these investments. By releasing more spectrum with sustainable economics to the key players in the market, governments will better enable broadband investment from private industry. Education in terms of digital literacy and new technologies is also needed. This combination of infrastructure and capability will help create smart cities.

Source: World Economic Forum