IoT project in Colombia guarantees protection for taxi drivers

Tunja, Colombia
Sheila Zabeu -

April 14, 2023

An Internet of Things (IoT) project in the Colombian city of Tunja is ensuring greater safety for taxi fleets with tracking capabilities. With around 170,000 inhabitants, Tunja is an important educational centre with renowned universities and is on its way to becoming Colombia’s first smart city.

The taxi fleet has approximately 1,200 vehicles owned by self-employed drivers. This means that if the cars are stolen, the financial losses will be great, not to mention that taxi drivers will be left without their main means of livelihood. In addition, there is no efficient response phone number for the police to take immediate action.

Foi por isso que a administração da cidade passou a buscar uma solução de autoproteção para os taxistas. Inicialmente, o projeto-piloto cobriu um grupo de 200 táxis rastreados pela cidade. A prefeitura já aprovou a implantação de outros 1000 táxis.

The solution, led by IoT and renewable energy solutions provider, uses Abeeway micro-trackers that are connected to the car’s cigarette lighter as a power source and provide location information every three minutes throughout the day. A panic button on the tracker allows drivers to alert police forces and be located quickly. According to the system’s developers, the police department itself is keen to deploy the trackers in its fleets for real-time location and dispatch.

The connectivity protocol used is LoRaWAN for its coverage advantages over cellular network technologies that have blind spots. Conventional cellular-based GPS devices do not work everywhere. In addition, radio signals can be easily blocked. LoRaWAN is a wireless communication technology that uses unlicensed radio spectrum and allows sensors to communicate with IoT applications over a long range.

In the case of Tunja, situated in a geographical region with many mountains, hills and tall buildings, LoRaWAN proved particularly interesting. Only a few gateways were needed to cover large areas. Moreover, the location information of the taxis is received seamlessly and without any interruption in communication.

The Tunja administration is already considering using the same LoRaWAN network with other types of sensors to monitor city assets and activities, such as smart water metering and street lighting, city bus tracking and better control of traffic lights to reduce pollution.

In short, the project has laid the foundations for Tunja to incorporate more technological aspects of smart cities, as the platform is highly adaptable and can be used for several use cases in a single instance. This means that the city can move forward efficiently and optimise resources to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

Segundo a LoRa Alliance, associação mundial de empresas apoiadoras do padrão LoRaWAN aberto para redes de área ampla e baixa potência (LPWANs) no universo IoT, para projetos que usam milhares de sensores, como acontece no caso das cidades inteligentes, a melhor escolha de para tecnologias de conectividades/ comunicação são as redes de área ampla e baixa potência (LPWANs), como o padrão LoRaWAN.

One strength of LoRaWAN is its ability to support more than 1,000 devices per gateway. In addition, it does not require large bandwidth, and its devices typically do not consume much power, extending battery life. It can operate in dense environments, such as large cities.

Accreditation program

The LoRa Alliance recently unveiled a training programme to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals.

“LoRaWAN is a mature technology with mass deployments and the largest IoT ecosystem. For the past few years, the IoT industry had been calling for a technical accreditation program. Accredited developers and engineers will bring with them a strong knowledge of LoRaWAN to support IoT projects around the world,” says Donna Moore, CEO and president of the LoRa Alliance.

The new LoRaWAN Accredited Professional programme will be administered by the LoRa Alliance. Those who pass the accreditation exam will have demonstrated advanced knowledge of the LoRaWAN standard and its implementation, according to the alliance. The programme is recommended for professionals with at least two years of experience in LoRaWAN development and implementation and/or who have already completed LoRa Alliance-endorsed training.

The online race will be available on May 1, 2023, and registration is now open. The first 100 registrants will receive a $100 discount.