The Open-Air Laboratory for Smart Living, founded in 2016 by Videotron, Ericsson, the École de technologie supérieure and the Quartier de l’innovation (QI), is making giant strides. Three new partners – Québec-based K2 Geospatial, tech giant IBM, and the ENCQOR consortium – have signed on and a series of trailblazing projects are currently underway in the Laboratory’s unique ecosystem.
After laying the foundations for its optimized connectivity infrastructures, the Lab, located in the heart of the QI, passed a new milestone earlier this year when it was recognized by the Québec government as a Centre of Excellence for Next-Generation Evolved Network and Internet of Things.
Innovative projects: The future is now
Since the Lab opened its doors to the scientific community and businesses in Fall 2017, a series of exciting projects have been launched.
For example, an emotion meter is being developed in collaboration with Montréal-based startup MoodShine. It can detect up to seven moods using standard videocam equipment. Possible business use cases include improving the client experience at a given location by measuring users’ emotional responses. The data would be aggregated to preserve user anonymity.
The partners in the Lab are also working on a unique smart bus shelter concept. The shelters would be equipped with Internet access and with devices to improve the commuter experience in various ways, such as optimizing the use of transit resources and providing access to weather forecasts, transit system status, and context-and mood-sensitive content.
A self-driving shuttle pilot project is underway within the perimeter of the QI. In addition to demonstrating the technology, the project meets a real need expressed by the community. It will also enhance the Lab’s infrastructure by enabling prototyping and testing of smart transport technologies in conjunction with the riders who will benefit from them.
The Laboratory is also looking at developing data governance tools, in collaboration with the Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal (CRIM), in order to maintain tight data security and confidentiality. If tests yield positive results, the above innovations could be made available beyond the confines of the Lab for the benefit of all.
Lastly, next-generation systems that support high-density interconnection of multiple devices (known as “massive IoT”) are currently deployed in the Lab and help provide a unique testing environment.
Two new contributing partners, K2 Geospatial and IBM, have joined the Open-Air Laboratory for Smart Living.
Québec-based K2 Geospatial is the publisher of JMap software, a mapping platform that connects standalone systems and is currently used by more than 500 municipalities, ports, airports, highway authorities and utilities. The partnership will give the researchers and businesses at the Laboratory access to the JMap platform, which simplifies data management, communication, collaboration and decision-making by display data from a different sources on an integrated mapping interface.
Technology giant IBM will make valuable tools available to help accelerate the development of startups by granting them up to $120,000 in Cloud credits, enabling them to use more than 130 cloud-based services including Watson, Blockchain, analytic tools and cybersecurity tools. Startups will also have access to IBM’s network of contacts and some could join the Startup with IBM program.
The Lab has also signed a collaboration agreement with ENCQOR (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation), which is building the first pre-commercial corridor of 5G digital infrastructure between Québec and Ontario for research purposes. Its goal of providing small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), researchers and academia with access to 5G networks is a close fit with the Laboratory’s mission. The collaboration between ENCQOR and the Lab will help meet the needs of startups and researchers.