The sky's the limit for IoT Takeaways from 4 real cases shared at the X-change of 06/06/18


IoT isn’t a distinct tool in itself, but it can be a powerful catalyst to boost your business or reduce the processes using up your time and resources. Although the technology is still maturing, several organisations are already setting up new solutions and discovering fresh opportunities.


In this session, we had a look at four real life cases, gaining inspiration from intelligent parking spaces in Liege, an academic testing ground at KU Leuven, a smart bike sharing platform in Ghent and camera surveillance in Mechelen.


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How smart parking is shaping urban mobility


To open the session, Etay Oren, CEO at CommuniThings, explained how his smart parking solution works.  The solution, built with the support of Orange Belgium uses battery-powered, fully wireless sensors.  These are combined with cameras and linked to an information system to generate comprehensive parking management.


Etay gave a demonstration of the parking system in the city of Mons, with a live overview of available parking spots and illegally parked vehicles.  This enables a lot of data gathering and the optimisation of the parking clusters.


He provided use cases such as reducing the abuse of ‘disabled’ parking cards, supporting car sharing, etc. He also mentioned how the ability to rent out parking spots when they are not used by the owners (company parking lots, spaces in front of garage doors space) can help a city optimise its parking situation.


A smart city is much more than a city providing smart services, he concluded.  Read more about this solution here (in Dutch, English and French).


From 'DingNet' testing ground at KU Leuven to comprehensive business solution


Next up, Dirk Janssens, Senior Network Engineer at KU Leuven ICTS, gave an overview of 'DingNet', the experimental zone for students and researchers at the university. The university opted for LoRaWAN technology, which offers many advantages for users:

  • It is free for students, personnel and researchers
  • It uses ‘self-service’ management of users’ own devices and applications
  • It is integrated with KU Leuven Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure
  • There is a lot of information, support and examples online, for all knowledge levels


After an overview of the technical aspects of the infrastructure (see slides 6-11), he gave us concrete use cases at various departments.  The technology has been well adopted by the academical eco-system, both to test use cases and to test the security of the LoRaWAN networks.


In summary, DingNet:

  • Exploits the advantages of the LoRaWAN technology
  • Is easy to use
  • Is low cost


Nelson Matthys, CEO at VersaSense, added to KU Leuven DingNet story.  VersaSense is a spin-off of KU Leuven and supports users of DingNet to set up their IoT solutions. Nelson began by denying the often-heard complaint that the wireless devices underperform, compared to wired devices.  Proper wireless devices, connected to a solid network, can offer 100% reliability, he claimed.


Wireless has its challenges though:

  • RF interference
  • Blocked paths
  • Device loss and mobility
  • Power budget and constraints

(See slides 8-10 for more details.)


Nelson touched upon the security aspect as well, and how to mitigate risks (see slides 13 and 14 for his recommendations).


IoT as a Service - smart locks and onward


Dock-less bike sharing was the focus of the use case presented by Alexander de Bièvre, Co-founder & Business Development Manager at Mobit.  The company’s standard bikes are equipped with a smart lock plus a solar panel; payment is made via smartphone.


After 9 months in business, Mobit, supported in its development by GTT, has learned a few things:

  • Bike needs to be part of a larger mobility solution
  • Working with local government is essential
  • It is vital to build a user community and to be part of the social economy
  • IoT brings many advantages to this user case (see slide 13)


Alexander concluded with the varied challenges this company faced as a start-up:

  • From the business perspective: who are the right investors, what is the optimal business model, the regulatory framework, etc.
  • From the technological perspective: communication between devices, including when updates are performed, the creation of a smart platform, etc.


Camera surveillance in Mechelen - integration of the 'bicycle beacon' project


Our final speaker of the day was Daniël Dumoulin, Commissaris – Technologie gestuurde politiezorg at Lokale politie Mechelen-Willebroek.  The police want to catch the bad guys, Daniël started, but the first step must be properly recognising these bad guys.  That’s where the cameras all over the city come in, as part of a project realised with NeXtel.


At the start of the project, the goals of installing cameras were carefully set (see slide 7).  Bike thefts were very high in 2016, so that was were the police started for their innovation path: the main goal was to stop these thefts. Then when a theft did occur, the police want to know where the bike has been (position tracking). By combining that information with camera footage, tagged bicycles can be tracked more easily.


See slides 22-23 for an overview of what happens and which police procedures kick in when a bike is reported stolen and - in the best-case scenario – is recovered.



















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