IoThon 2019: Tackling urban flooding with cellular IoT

How can cellular IoT meet tomorrow’s sustainability challenges? Well, who better to ask than tomorrow’s tech leaders? As a main sponsor at the recent 2019 IoThon hackathon, Ericsson challenged today’s rising tech talents to address a range of critical environmental issues using cellular IoT and connected technologies. Here’s what they came up with.

walking in water
IoThon 2019: Tackling urban flooding with cellular IoT

Research manager Networks, architecture and protocols

Research manager Networks, architecture and protocols

Students and developers from all over Europe were recently invited to take part in a unique IoT-themed hackathon. Organised by Aalto University, the 2019 IoThon is an open source IoT hackathon which offers students, researchers and developers an opportunity to demonstrate a range of exciting IoT solutions. As a main sponsor at the event, Ericsson challenged participants to show how cellular IoT technologies and connected devices can address key environmental issues.


Going underground with cellular IoT

The winning solution in the Ericsson challenge was a novel solution which could help to prevent city flooding. The underground sewer solution, "Deep IoT - Manage the Underground Kingdom", was skillfully developed by Jun Zhang, Yichen Cao, Yuanzong Zhang, Yifan Ye from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm.

The winning team from KTH

The winning team from KTH receives their prize from Johan Torsner, Research manager at Ericsson Finland

How the solution works

An important part of the challenge was to demonstrate how cellular IoT (Narrowband IoT or LTE-M) could be used in the solution. To support the teams, Ericsson provided NB-IoT and LTE-M connectivity for the event.

The winning team developed a working prototype where sensor data was transmitted over Narrowband IoT and displayed in a cloud portal. This also allowed alarms to be triggered in the event of any abnormal situations

By installing wireless sensors in the sewers which detect the water flow, it can be possible to predict and prevent blockage situations that can potentially cause flooding in cities. In addition, the sensors could also detect toxic substances. By analyzing the data from many sensors, the likely source of the pollution can be located with pinpoint accuracy.

The winning team from KTH

The cloud dashboard shows sensor information and alarms can be triggered for abnormal situations

NB-IoT was an appropriate choice for the solution due to the deep coverage provided with the coverage extension features that have been specified as part of the 3GPP standard and the low energy consumption allowing sensors to run on battery for several years.

All in all, the hackers had just 48 hours at their disposal to meet a range of challenges – laid down by sponsors including Ericsson – based on 5G-enabled solutions. The challenges ranged from improving the environment of the university campus area, to developing novel use cases for 5G light poles.

There could only be one winning team, however there were many other excellent solutions which deserve to be highlighted. This includes a smart parking solution with wirelessly-connected sensors and an application which reduces energy consumption in commercial buildings by shutting off part of the building when the usage is low.

Find out more

Read more about the event, including all winning solutions, on the IoThon 2019 website.

Visit Ericsson's cellular IoT page to explore the potential of cellular IoT in addressing today's and tomorrow's sustainability challenges.

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