MELFORT — In late August SaskTel announced that they had partnered with the City of Melfort to launch a “Smart City” initiative.
The focus of the plan is on bringing practical and innovative solutions to the city to improve current operations and optimize future community development.
“Our government is excited to see the City of Melfort establish itself as prairie hub for smart city technology,” Don Morgan, the minister responsible for SaskTel, said in a release.
“SaskTel is in the ideal position to ensure Saskatchewan communities of all sizes can capitalize on the explosive growth we are seeing worldwide in smart city solutions.”
Through a memorandum of understanding, SaskTel and the City of Melfort have adopted a Smart City Innovation Sandbox model to spur innovation and empower both parties to rapidly evaluate new technologies, tools and software products in a flexible and collaborative way. Already, the partnership has helped to uncover ways for the community to find cost-savings and reduce energy use.
“SaskTel is proud to be a partner is this exciting initiative for the City of Melfort,” SaskTel president and CEO Doug Burnett said.
“While there are many core services that SaskTel is well known for, like cellular and broadband services, we also have the expertise and ability to facilitate bigger, turning-point projects with customer focused solutions.”
Melfort started working with SaskTel last year to explore and research possible solutions for issues facing their community. Stakeholder sessions with city council and local leadership focused on prioritizing community needs and finding the most appropriate and sustainable solutions for local circumstances.
As part of the next stages, Melfort and SaskTel are working together on design-thinking exercises to map new ways to improve digital citizen engagement and other aspects of community life. SaskTel also plans to launch LoRaWAN, their new long-range low power wireless network, locally further enabling an array of Smart City use cases for both the municipality and the community.
“From the beginning, we have focused on making the lives of residents better by taking a people-first approach,” said Ryan Danberg, Melfort's city manager.
“This is not just about implementing new technology; it’s about engaging our citizens to create a better quality of life and more prosperous future for Melfort. This project will offer our city and residents lasting benefits, all while showcasing innovative systems and technologies from Saskatchewan.”
Collaborations to date have already proven successful. In addition to putting forward ways to improve local connectivity, SaskTel leveraged their existing relationship with technology partner, Saskatchewan’s Greenwave Innovations to pilot an integrated platform for environmental and resource monitoring in the city.
“Much like SaskTel, we entered into this project to find problem-solving solutions that would offer tangible benefits for the community,” Dean Clark, President of Greenwave Innovations, said.
“As it turns out, SaskTel’s expertise in connectivity, data storage and software services were a great match with our knowledge in energy management and conservation.”