05 May 2021
Poles seem like trivial objects. We are so used to seeing them everywhere to the point that we hardly notice them. These devices used for electricity, telecommunications, lighting, road networks (e.g. street lights, poles, posts, pylons) and all other types of industrial infrastructure installed vertically outdoors (e.g. for roads and rails) have become so commonplace that we have forgotten what they are used for and the danger incurred from them breaking down.
“SmartPole addresses a very specific need facing our operators and infrastructure manufacturers deployed in our areas. Poor weather conditions and car accidents often cause pylons and poles, which are frequently critical local parts of larger operational chains,to fall down. Those involved need to be able to instantly detect when these infrastructures have been damaged, identify them and find them quickly. The goal is to be able to reduce the risks nearby and to optimise the actions taken by the maintenance teams and thus the service’s downtime as well.”
SmartPole cannot stop them from falling, but it can detect when they do quickly and remotely. Operators rely on overhead electrical and telecom networks deployed in the area, community or department. When a pole falls, this can interrupt an operator’s service for a relatively long period of time. This can also block a road, cause damage nearby and generate significant maintenance costs, both economically and ecologically (e.g. regular travel to check on the condition of the poles, etc.).
Connected objects have a major role to play here. The aim is to make these poles communicate using smart sensors that are directly attached to the at-risk poles. LACROIX’s SmartPole solution offers a concrete, practical answer to this challenge.
“If a local critical link falls, an entire part of the operational chain will no longer function. We provide that extra missing link. With the SmartPole solution, we can bring a dormant infrastructure to life and enable it to communicate. By “bring it to life”, I mean that it will be able to transmit data on its status and on the fact that a critical angle has been crossed. This information is checked twice to ensure its reliability. The check is done via the hardware and via a confirmation from the built-in smart software”
In just a few clicks, the maintenance teams thus receive information on the condition of the poles. In the event that a pole falls or breaks down, a signal is sent via the IoT telecom networks to the monitoring centres, dispatchers and maintenance services. They can then send this information to the on-field teams and set the priorities on critical repairs, thus limiting operational downtime and safety risks.
In Orange’s Datavenue Challenge, the SmartPole solution won an award in the “Innovation and Technology” category. Open to all professionals involved in the B2B IoT, the Datavenue Challenge 2021 aimed to promote innovative services relying on IoT technologies to help companies improve their performance.
“Orange and LACROIX worked hand in hand to define, develop, test in real conditions and industrialize the Smart Pole product. The result is a reliable and secure product that has been awarded with the Orange Connected label, attesting to its excellent performance in terms of connectivity. The Smart Pole is now one of the very first products available at the new Orange IoT devices catalog, which we launched in September 2021.”
“This award from Orange helps us promote our industrial solution and its numerous advantages: it is high-performing, reliable, secure and easy to install. Today, we are focused on supporting our customers in rolling out this solution. The sensors need to be connected to an IoT network which requires optimal telecom coverage.Naturally, on a national or regional scale, there are still “white spots” in terms of telecom coverage. LACROIX, with its size, foothold in France and Europe and its close relationships with both public and private telecoms operators, can help with this development.The future is bright!”
The SmartPole solution was part of Impulse, the LACROIX range dedicated to the development of industrial IoT solutions and critical electronic applications, launched in early 2021.
“With Impulse, we positioned ourselves as a “tech accelerator” whose mission is to enable the development of electronic and industrial IoT solutions in a concrete manner. Our customers need to be supported from design to industrialisation, and LACROIX is positioned across a large part of the IoT value chain.”