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Kigali's IoT investment a blueprint for smart city projects

Kigali's IoT investment a blueprint for smart city projects

Inmarsat has deployed an Internet of Things (IoT) network around Kigali to support the Rwandan capital's flagship smart cities project.

The LoRaWAN network, which went live on 1 May and will be active for an initial period of one year, will be the connectivity platform for a variety of IoT applications and will provide a blueprint for smart city projects throughout Africa.

It has been developed in partnership with Actility, which provides Low Power Wide Area Networks for industrial IoT, and which Inmarsat recently invested in.

The aim of the solution is to provide city-wide coverage that enables a variety of organisations to develop and deploy IoT applications on a large scale, while also allowing entrepreneurs to easily connect their front-end IoT devices through a middleware layer.

Applications using the network could address any number of urban needs, including transport, utilities, health and education.

Inmarsat will, in conjunction with its partners, deploy several proof of concepts and technology demonstrations around Kigali.

These will include environmental monitoring, whereby sensors will be deployed in buildings to monitor air quality, a smart bus equipped with satellite internet offering connectivity to remote communities, and a precision farming initiative, intended to increase crop yield and better manage water resources.

"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," said Paul Gudonis, president of Inmarsat Enterprise.

"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. The project will, therefore, begin to take the potential of this exciting technology beyond futurist visions and into a real-world scenario and we look forward to seeing the creativity of Kigali's many entrepreneurs, students, and businesses unleashed on the IoT network."

Creating an IoT ecosystem across an entire city requires smart connectivity to a reliable network, with Gudonis saying Inmarsat worked closely with Actility to build this vital framework within a single network.

"The ambitious scope of the Kigali smart city project has implications for the kind of infrastructure that needs to be in place, with a requirement for stability and speed when dealing with large and complex data volumes across an urban environment," he said.

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