Empowering Smart Cities, Elegantly

The Opportunity

A smart upgrade for city infrastructure

In the coming years, digitization will be a key priority for cities around the world. One of the biggest questions on every local government leader’s mind is how to improve access to public services and quality of life. This need requires a heightened degree of integrated systems thinking and problem-solving. Connectivity and software-defined feedback loops are essential for effective resource management.

This need is largely responsible for pushing IoT innovation forward — according to one forecast, the global IoT in Smart Cities Market size is expected to grow from USD $113.1B to $260B thanks to an increasing number of government initiatives. With this growth comes a new era of infrastructure that is equal parts elegant, functional, and impactful to the future of humanity.

Since 2015, Omniflow has been inventing technology that brings this commitment to civic empowerment, to life. The company’s flagship product is an award-winning vertical axis turbine, coupled with solar energy, that reduces the visual impact of windmills in urban and remote areas. This invention opened doors for the Porto, Portugal based company to build up a portfolio of aesthetically pleasing, carbon-neutral utility infrastructure that can be customized ranging from smart lighting to public wi-fi hotspots, USB charging stations, small cell base stations, smart parking, location analytics, and more.

“Smart cities are our main driver as we can retrofit existing lighting systems into smart IoT lampposts, so in the end, the general population is the beneficiary for our solution,” says Pedro Ruão, Omniflow’s founder and CEO. “We have an average saving on power consumption of more than 90% for every installation we’ve deployed.”

Keep reading to learn how Omniflow is bringing a new dimension of beauty and functionality to cities around the world using a software-defined hardware deployment.

The global network and price are only the beginning to the story of Soracom’s value add as a partner.

Pedro Ruão Founder and CEO, Omniflow

The Product

Beautiful, functional, carbon-neutral urban lighting

Omniflow’s products are elegant, functional, and integrated into a software and hardware defined ecosystem. Omniflow’s products, by enabling customers to invest in infrastructure, piece by piece, makes it possible for every city to evolve towards becoming a Smart City.

“Our mission is to have a positive impact in the world, avoiding CO2 emissions and expanding digitalization,” says Ruão.

“Omniflow developed a patented hybrid system that allows to power its smart IoT lamppost with both wind and solar energy. Cities can replace a simple illumination device with our carbon neutral lamppost that can layer multiple services on a single infrastructure adding the opportunity for revenues.”

In addition to being carbon neutral, this lamp post functions as a motion sensor, license plate detector, smoke and fire detector, crowd monitor, or WiFi hotspot in addition to its core use case. As a replacement for a traditional streetlight, Omniflow’s lamp makes sense.“

Beyond its core use case, Omniflow bridges gaps between digital and physical worlds. Reporting dashboards, built on top of Soracom’s software-defined infrastructure, enables Omniflow’s customers to get the data that they need. With a dashboard, end users can easily see the status of devices and diagnose challenges.

Connectivity is central to Omniflow’s ability to scale and to ensure the integrity of solutions delivery. When it comes to basic services for a city, like lighting, surveillance or communications, there’s zero wiggle room for downtime. To meet the needs of its customers, Omniflow’s products must assure connectivity to devices with 99.99% uptime.

“We use cellular connectivity in 2 ways, first as an IoT, to communicate to our dashboard where we can monitor and control our devices and secondly as a service we can provide to the customer,” says Ruão. “Our development is based on two main verticals. The first focused at expanding our own products’ capabilities and the second aims to combine our solution with partners’ technologies adding new features to our current offer.”

“Soracom makes a robust, thoughtful, and high integrity product possible.

“Assuring the connectivity to our devices is crucial as communication is part of their operating mode. With Soracom we get access to our devices’ management tools and collect essential data all over the globe.”

Services in use

• SORACOM Air: smart connectivity for IoT

The Outcome

A better, brighter world

Soracom enables Omniflow to adapt in a meaningful way to a nascent, highly promising market. Soracom has enabled the following:

  • Rapid international expansion, particularly into Latin American markets
  • A variety of applications for a complex, multi-sided business model
  • 99.99% uptime for critical services
  • A secure environment that local governments to build upon based on their data transparency, connectivity, and software needs
  • “Before Soracom, we were lacking a uniform and global connectivity service,” explains Ruão. “We were working with a wide range of solutions, which was time consuming.”

    With a high capacity for scale, Omniflow is well-positioned to make a global impact on local government and environmental outcomes. The company’s Omniled system has been installed across 30 countries, primarily in Europe and United States, and is now gaining adoption in Asia and South America. Their global footprint is growing quickly with thousands of Omniled devices already in the field.

    Omniflow has also made it possible for the public and private sector to team up. For instance, Omniflow works with one of the world’s largest retailers and powers the streetlamps for parking structure and on/off ramps to loading areas.

    One city government is already using Omniflow as part of a COVID-19 response strategy, to open up responsibly. Security cameras can give city governments a real-time view of how people are forming groups.

    “We value the service that Soracom gives us, at every step of the way,” says Ruão. “The global network and price are only the beginning to the story of Soracom’s value add as a partner. We have been developing some very interesting partnerships in the Southeast Asia region and are also getting very good contacts from the South America region. Expanding will probably require an even more ‘glocal’ solution, meaning that we will need a robust local service, but scalable and replicable anywhere around the globe.”