Smart City Network
Caravela Smart City Networks allow real-time monitoring of ambient sensor data from the environment and from physical infrastructure in any urban, suburban or rural area. No power, no problem. No network, no problem.
A Smart City network collects data from sensors measuring environmental conditions or physical objects such as roads, bridges, waterways or buildings. The collected data is processed and analyzed to help manage and monitor those things, or is used to provide insight into the workings of an urban environment. The Smart City network tracks data from sensors that detect things such as: fluid, humidity, flow, pressure, temperature, gas, water, tilt, proximity, position, chemicals, environment, magnetism, radio, speed and more.
What if you had the power to improve communication, connectivity and convenience throughout your city? Detect gas leaks, improve wayfinding, enable citywide WiFi or even measure the asphalt temperature on a bridge before it freezes over – the possibilities are endless with Smart City technology from Caravela.
Identifying your end goal is the first step to a Smart City. What information do you want to capture? How can data provide you with better understanding to help make more informed decisions? Caravela will help you determine what sensors you need, how many to install and where they should be placed. Then the sensors are connected to our network, and we ensure connectivity. Your data is then stored securely and is easily accessed for integration within a variety of applications. And because our solutions are entirely open source, our Smart City network solutions have limitless integrations.
Much of the Caravela Smart City technology operates on a wireless LoRa network, which is specifically used for low-power, long-range sensor applications. LoRa connected sensors are ideal for city-wide use as they do not need a traditional power source and can function for years on a single button battery or solar energy without extensive maintenance. Additionally, LoRa sensor technology does not require a cellular plan for data transfer. For larger corporations, a month cellular fee (per sensor) may not matter – but for municipalities or researchers where there might be thousands of sensors being monitored, or for startups and other small businesses, the LoRa network offers connectivity for pennies sensor. LoRa connectivity operates much like a WiFi-type network.
In some instances, sensors that operate on a cellular network may be preferable over LoRa. Cellular networks offer wider coverage areas and are suitable for large amounts of data. Contact us to discuss your specific needs and we will be able to advise you on your options.
The Caravela IoT team is comprised of top-level cybersecurity and data science professionals. The data transmitted via the Smart City Network is secure. Each sensor is registered with the gateway and data cannot go anywhere else. Both the LoRa and cellular networks are 100% separate from any corporate IT network.
There are 3 main types of sensors that detect and measure elements of the physical world:
Motion sensors detect a change in the position of an object with respect to its original reference location. Motion is specified in terms of displacement, velocity, direction, acceleration and time.
Power sensors monitor power consumption, current metering and voltage detection.
Environmental sensors measure a huge diversity of conditions, including temperature, light, noise, fluid, humidity, proximity, tilt, pressure, flow and much, much more.
What is a LoRa Network?
A LoRa (Long Range) network is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN). LPWAN technology is a wireless network that connects low-bandwidth, battery-powered devices with low bit rates over a distance. Popular in Europe, LoRa networks are just starting to gain momentum in North America.
With a LoRa network, sensor data can be reliably captured within a 3-mile (5km) radius of a service antenna that acts as a gateway collection point. The gateway then transmits collected data to the secure data center. Smart City technology is also 2-way. It’s possible to send signals to the device, machine or sensor as well as collect data from it. Hundreds of sensors for multiple applications can simultaneously report to a single antenna with no impact on system performance, allowing you to monitor many sensor endpoints in an affordable and economically sustainable manner. Place a sensor anywhere without having to utilize wires for power or connectivity. Service antennas can easily be attached to local electrical poles or transformers.
The Caravela Smart City Solution
Our experts are well-versed in what it takes to build and maintain an edge sensor network. Our experts are also real, hard-working midwesterners, too, so we know how to work with you to create the right solutions for your intended use. We won’t upsell, hard-sell or sell out. It’s just not in our nature.
From concept to collection, our team will guide you through the process so that you’re collecting vital data as soon as possible. We get that IoT can be intimidating… but we’re not!
- Understand goals and objectives
- Determine the right sensors needed for your application
- Advise on the number of sensors required and the best locations to place them
- Help install and connect to a local network (LoRa or Cellular)
- Ensure sending and receiving of data to the secure cloud
- Help determine the best tool(s) for you to analyze/visualize your data
Caravela’s solutions are entirely open source. We present raw sensor input as an SQL queryable interface to enable actionable insights. This means that you can use your data in limitless ways – integrating with a variety of different solutions without being tethered to a high-cost, proprietary software package and lengthy contract.
Our open source storage solutions allow you to use your data in any software, storage or infrastructure that works for you. Tools such as Grafana or Tableau help many of our customers visualize their data.
In need of a custom visualization tool? The Caravela team can bring your data to life with a configurable, flexible and seamless single pane of glass dashboard. Imagine having all the information you need, right at your fingertips? Our team will work with you to create a custom dashboard with the information most important to you.
See an example dashboard we have made with weather and air quality data collected at our office in Milwaukee.
A sample of a Caravela IoT custom dashboard visualization tool for Smart City Network data. Our dashboarding can provide a single pane of glass for data sent from LoRa-enabled sensors and/or cellular sensors.
Which network is best for your application?
IoT connectivity technologies fall broadly into two groups: LPWAN (LoRa) and cellular IoT networks. Each are best suited to different needs – but it isn’t always an “either or” issue. Some scenarios make use of creative hybrid connectivity that utilizes both technologies. Note that most sensors, however, are designed for use with one over the other (i.e. LoRa sensors or cellular sensors).
Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) utilize sensors that run on small, inexpensive batteries that last years in an operating range that is typically ~3 miles in urban settings.
LPWANs are best suited for sending and receiving small amounts of data in a dense location (cities or large buildings) that require long-term monitoring. LoRa LPWAN sensors connect to gateway devices without any connectivity fees (similar to how your devices might connect to a WiFi network).
Cellular networks require contracted service agreements, with fees per sensor. In addition to the expense, cellular sensors also struggle with battery life, gaps in coverage and technology sunsetting. Sunsetting is when a technology is intentionally phased out: there are currently more than 30 million 2G endpoints in the US that no longer work due to sunsetting.
Cellular networks are best suited for sending larger amounts of data and in cases where short battery life is not a concern. Hardware is typically more expensive. Cellular-based IoT solutions are generally utilized by larger corporations or for smaller sensor deployment numbers.