Sigfox, LoRa, Wize, NB-Iot and now 5G? With the first Smart City projects and smart territories, communication technologies are multiplying. Announced as revolutionary in Europe, 5G once again raises the question of technological choice for connecting objects. Samuel Loyson, Smart Metering Director at SUEZ Smart Solutions, shares his expert opinion with us.



Technology, you want some? You get some!

The Internet of Things has seen the emergence of new types of radio communication networks called "LPWAN" (Low Power Wide Area Network) such as Sigfox, LoRa or Wize. These technologies, deployed locally or nationally, are particularly well suited to Smart City projects. In fact, they have a low energy consumption and still travel long distances (kilometers outdoors) thanks to a high-performance radio modulation. Faced with a wide variety of similar solutions, the choice for the decision-maker is complex. At SUEZ, "We usually adapt to the technology already installed in the region, otherwise we encourage the network deployment in Wize, a technology that is specifically well suited to hard-to-access objects and has attracted customers such as Paris, Bordeaux, the island of Malta and GRDF" explains Samuel Loyson. Within the Wize Alliance, Wize technology is designed for intelligent land use (remote reading, public lighting, intelligent watering, waste collection, energy, etc.).



5G, the future queen of technology?

Among all these technologies, the latest one, the "5G", is everywhere in the news. Countries are already embarking on the deployment race. While Togo says it is preparing for the arrival of 5G, Vodafone Spain has switched to the 5G network in 15 cities including Madrid and Barcelona, and across Switzerland the operator expanded its 5G network coverage in 262 cities, towns, and villages. As a result, inequality is widening between countries. In France, the deployment of 5G will be national and has great potential. It will allow the extensive deployment of major use cases such as the autonomous car or factory 4.0. Countries.


Will 5G still be able to keep its promises? "The idea of a single network remains illusory; no single technology can suit all the needs. Moreover, the generic term "5G" actually covers a whole family of complementary technologies" says Samuel Loyson.  In addition, the deployment of 5G will take time, and it will be necessary to wait until 2025 to have real coverage on a national scale, without certainty on the effective coverage for buried objects, or in cellars. "This situation is often encountered in remote water meter reading projects. Underground, and difficult to access, most IoT technologies do not provide satisfactory performance." In other words, it doesn't work. "It is then necessary to install repeaters, and there we increase considerably the costs of installation and maintenance". The ability to deploy dedicated local networks at an affordable cost therefore remains a necessity to satisfy all the options of the connected city.


The value of IoT lies in the service provided and not in the technology itself. "Use defines the choice of technology and not the other way around" says our expert before concluding "it will therefore not be surprising to deploy multi-technology networks to meet different needs".