Open Sky Laboratory for Smart Life : First Projects Starting Up

June 21, 2017 - Press Release

Montréal, June 21, 2017 – The partners in the Open Sky Laboratory for Smart Life – Videotron, Ericsson, ÉTS and the Quartier de l'innovation (QI) – held a press briefing this morning to report on the ambitious initiative's progress. Since the Laboratory, the first of its kind in Canada, was launched in September 2016, efforts have focused on setting up the infrastructure that will serve as the platform for innovative projects and practical technological applications designed to improve Quebecers' daily lives.

The teams from Videotron, Ericsson and ÉTS are readying the Laboratory to welcome its first collaborators while the QI is concentrating on its role as a facilitator and securing the cooperation of leading stakeholders. In the fall of 2017, an online project submission portal will go live. Businesses and researchers will be able to submit proposals which will be evaluated by a selection committee. As citizens are at the heart of the project, members of the public will also be invited to submit ideas.

Tech projects taking shape
Several projects are currently underway in the Laboratory's unique ecosystem, including the following.

Videotron's Wi-Fi SON project consists in creating a Self-Organizing Network that can transform traditional Wi-Fi access points into a smart network. The Wi-Fi terminals are permanently connected to a cloud-based hub that anticipates and manages the wireless connections of one or more users or things without human intervention in order to provide a seamless experience. Videotron is working with XCellAir, a trailblazer in smart Wi-Fi networks, on this project.

Another project involves the installation in a real-life environment of a large number of picocells, developed by Ericsson and deployed by Videotron. A picocell is a small LTE cellular base station that covers a limited area, such as a building or basement. Picocells provide uninterrupted connectivity regardless of signal source or strength and network traffic. They are a simple and effective way to densify network coverage and do not contribute to the proliferation of conventional antennas on the urban landscape.

A smart network consisting of Wi-Fi terminals, picocells and LoRa antennas is currently being rolled out in the ÉTS student dorms and within the perimeter of the QI. The smart dorms project and the development of various types of sensors will create a “smart home” experience for students, in which the entire environment is managed using analysis of data from the various everyday objects present in the building.

Ericsson's AppIoT accelerator, a platform that stores information in the cloud prior to analysis, is now installed and fully functional. AppIoT is based on data analysis, a central pillar of the Laboratory. It provides a full set of functionalities to support the creation and rapid roll-out of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

These projects are paving the way for the deployment in the near future of other technologies at the Open Sky Laboratory for Smart Life that will raise Montréal's profile as a connected smart city. For example, projects involving proximity sensing, smart water control and management for public toilets, and Li-Fi wireless light communication are currently under development.

The partners in the Laboratory look forward to receiving proposals from members of the community in the coming months and writing the next chapter in the smart living story together with them.

About the Open Sky Laboratory for Smart Life (LAB VI)
In 2016, Videotron created Canada's first open-air smart living laboratory, in collaboration with Ericsson, École de technologie supérieure and the Quartier de l'innovation de Montréal (QI). The facility, located in the heart of the QI, is designed for field-testing under real-life conditions of concrete technological applications with the potential to improve and simplify Quebecers' lives. The unique partnership brings together in one vast test site the knowledge, expertise and technology to implement various components of smart living, including 5G technology and the Internet of Things. The Laboratory is a model of collaboration in which the community, academe, industry and the municipal administration work together to help make Montréal a leader in the next technological revolution.

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Press inquiries

Véronique Mercier

Vice-president, Communications QMI