16 July 2018
Coffs Harbour’s Moving Forward with Smart City Solutions
Author: Renald Gallis - VP Marketing - Thinxtra (Sigfox Operator in Australia, New-Zealand and Hong-Kong)
Coffs Harbour is better known for the Big Banana monument than its smart city solutions. But as one of the most technologically advanced councils in Australia, this image could change.
Coffs Harbour City Council, via their City Smart Solutions business unit, has taken bold steps to improve the way they collect information about their council’s assets by developing Internet of Things solutions. The first two IoT solutions implemented are about public toilets remote monitoring and water metering for multi-storey buildings. Both projects involve wireless sensors connecting via the Sigfox global IoT network (operated in Australia by Thinxtra). By providing a low power wide area network (LPWAN), devices and sensors can reliably and securely transmit data over long distances, at extremely low cost. The data is then received on the council’s own IoT platform.
Public toilets monitoring
The first solution: Monitoring public toilets with Internet of Things is perhaps not the most glamorous project, but it makes a lot of sense as it substantially reduces costs of maintenance. With the new solution in place, including a Sigfox modbus device attached to a local control system (installed in the storage room of the toilets), the council is now able to automatically open and close doors, control and monitor inside and outside lights, record frequency and time of usage, turn off water after hours and receive alarms in case of leakage, receive daily water meter reads, and best of all, know when cleaners are coming and leaving the site.
Water consumption monitoring
The second solution: Metering the water usage of each resident in a multi-storey building allows the council not only to obtain daily reads automatically, detect leaks precisely or over-consumption of specific residents, but also to provide alarms when a power failure is detected and even better, an intruder is entering the control room. Such a solution, until now, would have been cost-prohibitive to install in buildings and was therefore not implemented.
“Our past processes for collecting water data, have been complicated and restricted. With this new solution we look forward to seeing some fast and meaningful data to reduce water leaks and collateral damages as well as to provide accurate reading of customers’ water consumption and billing. It is also worth mentioning that I have been very impressed with the RSSI and sensitivity of the Sigfox devices and cells out in the field with current data I have: Some Sigfox sister cells receive messages down at -140dbm. (Theoretical seems to be max -148dbm from estimate link budgets). Remember cells phone go deaf about approx -102dbm and SCADA radios approx -112dbm and our best comms being digital two ways dies about -117dbm”, said Andrew Sales, Technical Manager – City Smart Solutions.
Both solutions have been designed by City Smart Solutions, the technical arm of Coffs Harbour, led by Andrew Sales. He now wants to share those smart solutions, that have worked for his council, to the wider community. The business unit specialising in smart solutions that increase efficiency and boost productivity, safety and reliability has accumulated 60 years of experience in supporting their council and servicing a broad range of clientele across regional New South Wales and Southern Queensland.
Thinxtra also mentioned that Coffs Harbour was the first council to take advantage of their Smart Council Partnership Program, a program designed to provide Sigfox global network coverage within 4 weeks at no cost to the council. “Having Sigfox coverage lays the foundation for councils to become better maintained, safer, more sustainable and innovative. By bringing high impact Internet of Things solutions to life such as those solutions implemented by City Smart Solutions, the councils can reduce their costs and better service their community” says Thinxtra CEO, Loic Barancourt.
About City Smart Solutions
As a business unit of Coffs Harbour City Council, City Smart Solutions have been trialing and testing on a diverse range of business sectors delivering outstanding proven results. Servicing a broad range of clientele across regional New South Wales and Southern Queensland, City Smart Solutions has 60 years experience and expertise to effectively integrate technologies within local businesses and communities. City Smart Solutions develops and implements technologies to manage security, cloud-based services and wastewater management. With a strong commitment to sustainable development and leveraging their deep understanding of customers needs, they can tailor smart solutions that increase efficiency and boost productivity, safety and reliability.
To learn more about City Smart Solution, visit www.citysmartsolutions.com.au