How the IoT is connecting French cities

As the development of the Internet of Things is expected to roll out on a grander scale in the years to come, cities across France are looking at what they can do in the present to prepare for this network of the future. In southeastern France, the city of Grenoble served as a testing ground for smart city technologies running through a single network, thanks to an alliance of over 300 companies. Let’s take a look at this alliance and how it will spread to other cities across France. — Philippe Leonard 


One network, multiple apps

Dubbed the LoRaWAN protocol, this global, carrier-grade Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) allows innovation through the IoT thanks to long-range, low-power connectivity. With LoRaWAN, smart city applications can all run on a single network, in this case, managed by French telecom company Orange, without each app having to design its own infrastructure. Working with apps dealing with everything from intelligent building to the smart city, agriculture and geolocation, this network is a cost-efficient way for cities to roll out and manage a large number of solutions without having to worry about “complex local installations.”

Worldwide model

After a successful trial in Grenoble, the telecom company plans to expand the LoRa IoT network across the country, which would allow both local and national governments to develop new smart city projects without having to worry about overhead costs, thanks to the established network.  

In addition to projects in France, Orange is also using these cities as an example for others around the world, such as Doha. As part of the “world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project,” Doha is incorporating these services and technologies in a €5 billion project for what’s being seen as a flagship smart city development in Qatar. The 31-hectare area encompassing Msheireb Downtown Doha will feature a Smart City Central Command Centre that will control building operations and services, such as security cameras, street lighting and automated waste collection.

With a mix of local technology knowledge and multinational expert guidance, the project, which will affect all of the homes and businesses in the district, will make this section of the city “smarter.” A few of the highlights will include applications for citizens like online payments, as well as solutions for the city like indoor geolocation infrastructure and smart meters. In turn, this type of multinational collaboration will serve as an example of how countries can share technologies to develop smart cities together.