One of the most impactful and tangible ways that Internet technology is changing the way we live is through the development of smarter cities—master planned communities that are more carefully conceived and deliberately designed for efficiency, safety, and resiliency.
Thanks to more affordable and accessible wireless broadband technology, we are enjoying an unprecedented inter-connectivity of smartphones, gadgets, and potentially anything else that can be hooked up to the Internet—be it vehicles or household appliances. This phenomenon is dubbed by experts as the “Internet of Things” or IoT, and it is the driving force behind the creation of smarter cities.
Imagine how demand for electricity and water resources are monitored and managed by utility companies through real-time consumption data. Or how about how vehicle drivers are more accurately and safely guided on their travel through the use of navigation apps on their smartphones. Eventually, in the future, passengers may even be brought to their destination by vehicles without a driver.
In smart cities of the future, such services are predicted to become the norm, and they are already starting to become a reality in a lot of places around the world.
A good case study of wireless connectivity application in real life is an IoT device solution fom Cambium Networks that helped maintain clean water supply for a community in Fairborn, Ohio.
Upgrading wireless technology
The city water and wastewater control facility is responsible for providing safe, potable water for more than 30,000 residents of the area. High quality standards must be consistently achieved while maintaining operational efficiency in order to provide the utility services to residents at an affordable cost.
With the growing local population and intensifying demand for more accurate water monitoring and plant operations, however, the city had to look into innovative solutions utilizing new technologies. Automated water measurement and control was previously made possible with the help of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, with wireless technology proving to be the most affordable solution to have been deployed. Nevertheless, the city needed increased reliability for their wireless system given the situation of congestion of existing frequency bands in the area.
Also, the communication points monitoring necessary information such as pump levels, water levels and control functions were equipped with a serial port for access, but not an Ethernet port for modern data collection and control communications.
Wireless network solution
Fairborn Water worked with local wireless communications solution provider P&R Communications and systems integrator Electro Controls to come up with a reliable wireless connectivity system that would meet such stringent communication requirements.
With Cambium Network’s free LINKPlanner software, a new wireless network was designed with enhanced accuracy and customization using GPS technology to pinpoint exact data equipment positions and predict the wireless performance needed in these locations. They are able to design the network to overcome geographical obstacles such as dense trees and other physical obstructions.
Cambium’s cnMaestro management system then provided a proper overview of the wireless network, achieving accurate and efficient field data aggregation from interconnected sensors across the large field area. Real-time data is thus now made more available to the utility company in order to gain insights into water conditions at any point in time, and to decide on necessary, critical actions.
IoT as the future of living
Such practical and vital use of wireless connectivity shows how our world is increasingly being driven by the Internet of Things. More and more fields of application are being seen, and the benefit of wireless solutions is becoming more apparent.
The possibilities and benefits of smart living through IoT is truly endless, but companies, enterprises and governments need to choose the right solutions in order to achieve cost and operational efficiency. Investing in connectivity infrastructure and systems is heavy, but the reward for a smarter urban environment is virtually priceless.