Inmarsat will deploy LoRaWAN (a form of LPWAN or Low Power Wide Area Network) infrastructure around the city of Kigali to support the Rwandan capital’s flagship smart city project.
The network, which will be active for an initial period of a year from 1st May, will be the connectivity platform for a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and will provide a blueprint for smart city projects throughout Africa.
The LoRaWAN network has been developed in partnership with Actility, the industry leader in Low Power Wide Area Networks for industrial IoT. The solution will provide city-wide coverage that enables a variety of organisations to develop and deploy IoT applications on a large scale, as well as allowing entrepreneurs to easily connect their front-end IoT devices through a middleware layer. Applications could address any number of urban needs, including transport, utilities, health and education.
To demonstrate the IoT’s transformative potential, Inmarsat will, in conjunction with partners such as Actility and Jersey Telecom, deploy a number of proof-of-concept and technology demonstrations around Kigali. These include:
environmental monitoring that will include sensors being deployed in buildings to monitor air quality;
a smart bus which will be equipped with satellite internet, providing ubiquitous connectivity for remote communities, and LoRaWAN-enabled providing real-time data acquisition in communities that it services;
and a precision farming initiative, intended to increase crop yield and better manage water resources.
Paul Gudonis, President, Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “Whilst many commentators have enthused about the possibilities of the IoT for the urban environment, from increasing utility usage efficiency to enabling a smooth network of autonomous cars, the reality is that it is still relatively untested and in its infancy. Kigali is taking the lead with its smart city project, creating an IoT ecosystem where both private and government organisations can experiment with this technology in a vibrant and lively city.”
“We believe passionately in the power of the IoT to transform cities, industries, and agriculture,” says Actility CEO Mike Mulica. “But more importantly, we think IoT can change people’s lives for the better, and nowhere more so than here in Africa.”
Dr Hamadoun Touré, Executive Director at Smart Africa, added: "African ingenuity has sometimes been restricted by the infrastructure available to us in the past, but now new possibilities are opening up as technology transforms how our cities operate. The Kigali project will expose a new generation of students, business leaders, and technologists to the potential of the IoT, and will create demand for innovative solutions to common urban issues in countries and cities all over Africa.”