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The City of Kelowna is preparing to launch what they call “Canada’s first real-world 5G smart city solution.”
The project will launch in Kelowna next week in partnership with Rogers Communications and the University of British Columbia (UBC).
A smart city uses sensors connected to the internet to collect data and then uses it to improve the management of assets and resources, like garbage collection, parking spaces and traffic systems, the city explained.
Over the weekend of March 27, nearly 50 UBC students got together as part of a “virtual hackathon” to explore how new technologies and improved wireless connectivity could help find ways to improve how people move around downtown and increase pedestrian and cyclist safety through design.
One of the winning ideas from the hackathon is being implemented as a pilot project in downtown Kelowna.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Kelowna to build on the work we’re doing to bring smart city technologies to our City,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.
“Transportation has always been a top concern for our citizens and one of Council’s priorities. As we grow, we need to better understand what these travel interactions look like and how can we ensure the safe management of everyone using our streets, curbsides, sidewalks and pathways. The hackathon and this pilot project are great ways to discover solutions developed by smart young minds.”
Next week, the City is working with Rogers to install two light sensors (LiDAR) from Blue City Technology and powered by the Rogers 5G network.
The sensors will be installed at the intersections of Bernard Avenue and Water Street, and Bernard Avenue and Pandosy Street, with plans for more sensors to go up at three additional intersections later this year.
Unlike traffic cameras, LiDAR captures consistent data over the course of a 24-hour period, regardless of changes in lighting or weather, and the resolution of the data is insufficient to capture or reveal identifying details about people or permit facial recognition.
The Kelowna smart city project uses these wireless sensors and software from Blue City Technology to collect anonymous data, which is stored securely on Microsoft Azure, on vehicle and foot traffic patterns, which will be used by UBC research students to help find ways to improve vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist safety.
With the support of Blue City, students from UBC will use the data to answer questions such as what modes of transportation are being used in the community and where, or about how first responders can better respond to crash scenes.
“5G isn’t just the next G – it will truly transform how we live and work with new applications and solutions that are being built through collaborations with industry, government and universities,” said Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology Officer, Rogers Communications.
“We are focused on bringing together the right partners to build a strong 5G ecosystem and this pilot with UBC and the City of Kelowna will serve as a blueprint for the development of made-in-Canada 5G smart city technology.”
These wireless devices and their infrastructure follow Infrastructure Canada’s Safety Code 6 - Health Canada’s Radiofrequency (RF) Exposure Guidelines.