Rivercity Innovations expanded its products and services with the help of LoRa technology.
LoRa is a proprietary, low-power wide-area network modulation technique that’s used to communicate with internet of things (IOT) devices, especially in remote areas with poor cellular service.
Rivercity Innovations first brought a product called BeeSecure to the market in 2018, which was a cellular-based asset tracking device equipped with a GPS.
Jeff Shirley, chief executive officer of Rivercity Innovations, said it’s often used by the public for tracking assets, bikes, pets, equipment, and palletized goods.
“We’ve got law enforcement using it, RMs are using it for monitoring their graders. We do a lot of work with the Ministry of Highways. They’re using it on some of their snow plows and graders and equipment,” Shirley said.
“It’s quite often more for safety and peace of mind. For example, if a snow plow was to go off the road in the middle of the night and nobody knew where they were, then that would be an issue.”
BeeSecure is still available as a cellular-based model, but there continues to be inadequate cellular coverage in rural Canada and it takes a lot of battery power to stay connected to cellular networks.
To solve these problems, Rivercity Innovations now offers BeeSecure based on LoRa communication protocols.
The batteries on sensors that use LoRa can last many years, and these devices are much smaller compared to their cellular-based cousins.
BeeSecure is a product of Rivercity Innovations, but Rivercity also offers a more encompassing IOT-based monitoring system.
The company can install LoRa networks at farms or for municipalities, and it also leverages the SaskTel LoRa network.
“We put up LoRa coverage on our farm with about a 10 kilometre radius,” Shirley said.
“Every asset I have at the farm we can tag with temperature monitoring, or doors, or sensors for motion, soil moisture. You name it there’s a sensor for it and then we put that in place and we aggregate the data collection into a dashboard customized for the client.”
LoRa has helped reduce the cost to monitor sensors on the company’s system.
“If you are provisioning devices where we have network coverage, it’s $4 a month per device,” Shirley said.
“Whether that’s a sensor on a watering bowl, or location tracker on a goat, or a tracker in your expensive equipment, or soil moisture monitoring, greenhouse sensors, they’re going to be $4 per month.”
If LoRa coverage is not already available in your area, Shirley said they can install an indoor gateway at a client’s house for about $700 that will provide a couple kilometre coverage radius.
If there is a tower or tall building like an elevator in the farmyard an antenna can be installed that will greatly expand the LoRa coverage.
Motion sensors can be installed on doors, windows, gates or almost any object, and if they are moved, the user will get an alert and then choose if they want the alert to be sent directly to law enforcement.