A forward thinking bus shelter
The A$50 million competitive Smart Cities and Suburbs Program (SCSP) is an Australian government initiative that supports projects that apply innovative technology-based solutions to urban challenges.
City of Ryde, a forward-thinking council based in Sydney, working in partnership with Meshed, an Internet of Things solutions integrator, and Macquarie University, one of Australia’s leading seats of learning, recently won funding under SCSP to launch a range of pioneering initiatives.
Among the partnership’s top priorities was to evaluate how IOT-based sensor technology could be applied to City of Ryde’s existing Green Bus Shelter project to make it smarter and enhance the environmental benefits it delivers. A key feature of the shelter is a living green wall of plants – developed by Junglefy, one of Australia’s leading living infrastructure specialists. The green wall helps to clean the air and improve the visual appeal of the local environment.
To maintain the bus shelter and green wall, City of Ryde sought out an effective way of using smart connected infrastructure to continuously monitor them and send alerts when action was required. Macquarie University had already established a low-powered LoRaWAN IoT network for the SCSP project. City of Ryde complemented this by installing its own LoRaWAN gateway on the Things Network (TTN), a groundbreaking global project that is effectively crowdsourcing an IoT telecommunications network.
By choosing LoRaWAN and TTN as well as calling on the services of Meshed to provide the sensors and the necessary radio frequencies over the network, City of Ryde Council can ensure it has a LoRaWAN water level sensor implemented within the Green Bus Shelter’s Living Wall and reports several times a day on the water level around the plants.
Scoping the Benefits
The proactive alert capability Yotta’s Alloy provides is a key benefit for City of Ryde. Many council IoT projects in place in Australia simply use email as the communication tool. In a typical scenario, the system sends an automated message to the council head office when certain parameters are met. With Yotta’s Alloy, the message is more targeted and there is a clear call to action.
Rather than simply emailing the council’s offices, advising that a pre-set limit has been exceeded, the communication can be specifically sent to the maintenance crew with a clear instruction to visit the shelter and water the plants. It is an approach that helps eliminate delays and lessens any chance of confusion. Ultimately too, it reduces the likelihood of the council incurring unnecessary expense and lost time on crews having to replant the wall, or on having to make regular manual on-site checks of water levels, whether or not required.
1. Finding ways to use funding provided under SCSP initiative to improve the sustainability of the urban environment in City of Ryde council area
2. Building a partnership approach involving technology and service providers, governmental and research groups to more efficiently address environmental challenges
3. Leveraging IOT-based sensor technology to proactively maintain living green wall of plants within green bus shelter
4. Developing alerts that drive specific actions and target specific individuals rather than merely informing head office that a limit has been exceeded.