Analysts around the world predict that there will be between 20 and 50 billion connected objects in the world by 2020. Lacking the telecommunications infrastructure enjoyed by more than 100 countries around the world, including LoRa technology for long-range, energy-efficient sensors, Quebec is lagging behind.
Cities want to become "smart cities", as seen in Europe and Asia. Companies want to take the 4.0 / IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) turn to compete on the international scene. Smart cities and IIoT mean data from sensors (connected objects) that are deployed in large numbers at low cost. Battery-powered sensors with a lifespan of more than 10 years, without recharging, exist elsewhere...
We want to make Quebec a centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI). But to do AI, you need data, lots of data. Just like smart city projects, it takes sensors and it takes wireless infrastructures designed to communicate with all kinds of sensors, which we didn't have in Quebec yet.
Well, that's all about to change. Montreal-based startup X-TELIA is deploying the first public LoRa network in Quebec. LoRa is the new technology deployed in over 100 countries including France (by Orange and Bouygues Telecom), Switzerland (Swisscom), Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands (KPN), China, India (Tata Communications), Australia, the United States (Comcast), etc.
LoRa technology, developed by an international consortium of over 500 companies (www.lora-alliance.org) makes it possible to do today what 5G promises to do in several years' time, i.e. link millions of battery-powered sensors to detect parked vehicles, read water or gas meters, measure the level of waste in bins to optimise collection routes, measure air and water quality, prevent river or sewer overflows, detect water leaks, track and trace assets or people, notify users of a parking garage that it will be full before they arrive, monitor the temperature of a freezer, measure the level of grain in a silo, measure the level of CO2 in meeting rooms, etc.
The X-TELIA network, which has been in operation for two years, now covers a good part of Greater Montreal, the Montérégie and several cities in Quebec that are in the midst of the Smart City shift thanks to LoRa technology. In 2018, more than 55 million LoRa sensor messages were carried by the X-TELIA network in Quebec.
X-TELIA's mission: Making cities smarter, businesses more efficient and citizens safer.