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Kitchener's digital web making it possible to test smart metering and monitor parking

Photo courtesy of City of Kitchener.

Kitchener officials can now start delving into ideas on how to make the city even smarter thanks to the digital web.

Ideas will be made possible all thanks to the 16,000 LED smart street lights that are up and running.

Dan Murray, Director of Tech Innovation for the City of Kitchener tells the Mike Farwell Show that intelligence nodes have been added to the streets lights.

“We now have a narrow band network that we can use for all sorts of other purposes, so where we want to apply technology to various city functions, things like meter reading, smart parking, and the list goes on.”

Murray says Kitchener now has a foundational network that has full coverage across the city that can be leveraged, so officials can move forward with these ideas.

This year the city will look at the possibility of smart meters, instead of having someone come out once a month and do the readings.

“The meter that’s in the house would be replaced with the unit that would communicate across this narrow band network that we have and send readings out on a daily basis,” Murray says.

The big benefit to smart metering is that data will now help people understand their usage, specifically in terms of water.

“A water leak can be occurring and people don’t even know what’s happening and they just assume that their water bills are high. It could be as simple as a toilet running that’s consuming water or a water softener that’s misbehaving,” Murray says.

He adds by providing this type of information to their customers, they’re able to help them spot problems and they can become more informed.

Another idea floating around the City of Kitchener council chambers is the ability to monitor parking in real time.

Murray says this is an area that holds a lot of promise and right now there isn’t a lot of real time parking data.

“To be able to know at any time where parking is available — the potential is there to direct people to save them the inconvenience of driving around the block several times trying to locate a spot, [or to] help direct them to the most affordable parking that matches their needs.”

The intelligence nodes will help get data about the city’s parking assets, so they can be utilized properly.