Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Dubai: Seeds of Smart City transformation are bearing fruits in Dubai now. Telecom operator du becomes the first operator in the Middle East deploying the true internet of things (IoT) network.
Carlos Domingo, senior vice-president for new businesses and innovation at du, told Gulf News that there were talks about smart solutions in the last few years and now is the time to put things into practice.
“We are doing pilot projects at Dubai Silicon Oasis, North of Shaikh Zayed Road and nearby our office at Dubai Media City for smart parking by using sensors.
DSO operates as a free zone technology park for large- and medium-sized enterprises, and small companies looking to set up their offices in Dubai.
Du has formed an alliance with LoRaWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) specification intended for wireless battery operated things.
Domingo said that it needs a low bit-rate communication from and to connected objects and requires less bandwidth rather than using costly mobile networks. It provides seamless interoperability among smart things without the need of complex installations to roll out of internet of things.
“We have put parking sensors on the road with a huge battery which can last for more than three years.
LoRaWAN is a network designed for internet of things,” he said.
The operator has signed a deal with DSOA last year to explore the development of solutions, including providing telecom services, for DSO’s first integrated smart city project.
Domingo said that du has installed environmental sensors to monitor temperature, humidity and weather conditions in real time, and smart lighting using motion sensors. The lights on the streets can be monitored in real time and can be switched off when the neighbourhood is empty.
“Our next aim is to put sensors all around Dubai. Our aim is to make Dubai the smartest city by 2017,” he said, and added that more sites will become a reality by 2016.
He said the investment is made by du and the network is deployed by us.
The beauty of this network is that it is “very sensor friendly” and the data can be monitored in real time. The amount of data generated is very small. So for these kind of applications to become a reality, this network is a “critical piece”.
On the other hand, he said that video cameras on the streets will consume large bandwidth and needs electricity to run. Cameras are good for security solutions and for smart homes.
In 2016, he said that du will start commercialising smart homes concept and have already done trials.
“The primary use of smart home is for security. But as the UAE is a very safe place so the primary use will be for peace of mind rather than security. The other aspect will be for comfort where you house is properly cooled before you enter the house and switch off lights when not in use to save electricity and money,” he added.