How Dublin Became a Smart City, Part Two

This series examines how wooing major tech firms and supporting academic researchers is helping to transform the Irish capital.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

The city has installed the sound monitors throughout Dublin. When the monitors detect consistent, high noise levels, city managers receive email and smartphone alerts containing data about the disturbance, as well as a particular monitor's location. Importantly, Dublin also shares the sound data through a public-facing website, so residents can log in to view that location and track a wealth of historical data based on location or date.

Sonitus Systems is now testing a version of the device that includes an air-quality monitor—an approach that could enable the city to map sources of chronically poor air, or to receive alerts if noxious odors are detected.

Sonitus Systems' Paul McDonald
In Dublin's Croke Park stadium (discussed in part one of this series), the sound monitors are used to measure the roar of the crowd. This is useful both for neighborhood noise management and for tracking fans' cheering for contests inside the stadium.

The company is also expanding its client base outside Ireland, and has installed its noise monitors in Aspen, Colorado, as well.

Connect: Pervasive Nation
Connect is a research program funded by the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centers Program and the European Regional Development Fund. It brings together researchers from 10 Irish academic institutions, along with commercial players ranging in size from multinational corporations to startups, with the aim of conducting telecommunications research and development. Pervasive Nation is a €1.8 million ($2 million) experiment that will establish an Internet of Things network across Ireland, starting with the campuses of the 10 universities and colleges involved in the Connect project.

This spring, Connect announced that Pervasive Nation will utilize the latest off-the-shelf low-power wide area network (LPWAN) technology, developed by the LoRa Alliance, to form the network. Key functions that the researchers plan to integrate into the system are security and authentication algorithms for device provisioning and testing, the speed and ease with which nodes can be provisioned to the network, and a range of sensors that will be integrated into network nodes.

A number of use cases in both agricultural and urban settings, as well as both public and private network configurations, will also be tested. LPWANs are quickly being deployed worldwide as an alternative to high-bandwidth (and higher-cost) cellular networks, because they support applications in which small packets of data are transmitted over a long distance while consuming very little energy.

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