Nokia and the City of Hamilton: Smart City Innovations
“Our ambition as a company is to create an inclusive, digital world,” says Shawn Sparling, VP Enterprise and Public Sector at Nokia Canada. Achieving that requires network connectivity, something in which the company is a specialist. “We look at networks as foundational to bringing that inclusiveness to the world, whether we’re talking about smart cities or rural areas. That’s especially true in today’s world where our technology is helping communities secure access to healthcare and education.” Nokia provides the infrastructure that make this possible. “At Nokia, we offer the foundation through optical networks, high-speed networks, home IP routing, and of course, wireless 4G and 5G connectivity.”
In recent times, Sparling has seen the industry shift towards more efficient and greener solutions, alongside a move towards virtualization. “This creates complexity but also enables a quicker turnaround to new solutions. With technology changing so fast we’re focused on creating cities that are connected and smart, while simultaneously being safer and more efficient.”
It is precisely this impetus that has driven Nokia to partner with the City of Hamilton. “We're outcome-based, so the question really was: what do they need? What are the issues that they're facing as the city? Whether it's air quality, traffic, or responsiveness to health emergencies.” Aside from working directly with the city, Nokia also works with service providers. “We're one of the largest suppliers to network operators across Canada and our equipment is bringing connectivity to homes across the country,” says Sparling.
The benefits of a smart city are manifold. “It attracts industry for one, but it also enables new ways to provide education for our children and allows flexibility for workers,” says Sparling. “That ongoing work with the city is what we see as really beneficial. It's been exciting to work on this project. We're seeing a lot of opportunity and look forward to helping create the next generation of cities.”
Sparling anticipates that next generation to be driven by sensors which can be repurposed for different applications. “It was a very siloed world before. Now what we're doing is really looking at leveraging data into an integrated operations command and control centre. Leveraging those open assets while of course remaining secure.” Automation is another area growing in importance. “With that complexity, we need to start to automate so we can react more quickly. We can take information from four or five devices and have the system make a decision or notify an operator as to what might be happening.”
Another key trend is the move to operational simplification. “One of the things we've done is make it simple enough that with very easy training, you can take a piece of equipment, plug it in, turn it on, bring it up and operate that network within 10 minutes. Something that previously took weeks is now a 10-minute exercise to have a 4G or 5G wireless network fully up and running.” Going forward, the uptake in smart city solutions is only set to accelerate. “It's an exciting time to be in the industry, and we've enjoyed working with the City of Hamilton to bring innovative technology that will serve to make the community a safer and more efficient place.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.