Smart City and Utility Industry News Roundup
February 29, 2024

This week: The Brazilian city of Londrina’s partners with Lactec for a remote streetlight management system for its 65,000 streetlights and Belgium’s Waterloo employs Telraam sensors for mobility monitoring to enhance urban planning. Vodafone Spain and Aqualia’s collaborate on digitizing water management with NB-IoT technology, BT Group launch a UK-wide NB-IoT network, the EPA’s invests millions in US air quality monitoring, Simpliciti aquires Greencityzen for advanced water network management, and Portuguese startup Connected’s secures funding for developing space-based NB-IoT connectivity.

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The Brazilian city of Londrina has partnered with Lactec to implement a remote management system for its 65,000 streetlights, with the goal of saving energy. 4,500 remote management modules and 220 data concentrators are to be installed, numbers that could go up in the future. The 1.6 million US dollar project should also enable the integration of 5G devices such as cameras, Wi-Fi, and traffic flow control sensors on the streetlight poles. 

Belgium’s Waterloo plans to install 10 Telraam sensors in homes to monitor mobility, including pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles, on key roads. With the initiative, the Mobility Department aims to gather data to plan for a better urban and rural mobility, supporting the Climate Plan and cycling infrastructure investments. Tracking movement types and speeds is set to help authorities in its goal to boost cycling by five times by 2030, with potential for more sensors based on initial results.

Vodafone Spain and water utility Aqualia have partnered to digitize water management using NB-IoT connectivity. The plan includes connecting over one million water meters in the first five years, with over 250,000 already online. The initiative should enhance leak detection, fraud prevention, and consumption monitoring, offering consumers real-time data on use and enabling precise billing. The collaboration shows an emerging trend towards greater integration of water meters with NB-IoT technology.

BT Group has introduced a new NB-IoT network, which they claim will cover 97% of what they call outdoor population, not geography. Designed to enhance smart city efforts and industries such as utilities and agriculture, the network aims to facilitate IoT device connectivity for monitoring from water to livestock. Complementing BT’s IoT portfolio, this multi-million-pound NB-IoT network is part of a suite that includes eSIMs and national roaming SIMs, aiming to improve connectivity across various sectors.

In the US the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is allocating $83 million to enhance air quality monitoring, following the recent tightening of soot pollution standards. The funding set to expand air quality networks, includes $81 million in grants for air agencies and an additional $2 million to support monitoring in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The move comes in response to a significant gap in air quality monitoring, with about two-thirds of US counties currently lacking AQ equipment.

GreenCityzen, a Marseille-based IoT company specialized in water network management through data, has been acquired by the Aix-en-Provence urban cleanliness SME, Simpliciti. Together, they plan to expand their market reach and address water, waste, and mobility issues. Greencityzen is focusing on developing its technology, including SIM connectivity and advanced data analytics, to offer comprehensive solutions for sewer network diagnostics.

Connected, a Portuguese space tech startup, has secured €2M in Pre-Seed funding to develop NB-IoT connectivity from space. The company is addressing the global challenge of expanding connectivity to off-grid areas. Connected aims to provide affordable, universal NB-IoT connectivity for a range of applications, from emergency support in remote areas to precision agriculture and defense. The funding, co-led by FundBox, Shilling VC, and Iberis Capital, should help accelerate the development of Connected’s technology, with plans for space tests by the end of 2024.

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