Proposed application for a municipal water waste water system

My proposed application…
Water/wastewater municipalities have small bits of data that need to be delivered at distances that WiFi cannot accomplish. For example, a water tank level must be sent every 30 seconds 2 miles away to the water plant. Old solutions involved leased lines or FCC frequency allocations for radio. Many new solutions involve cell phone based IOT, which means that all locations need a cell account and power, which is not always easy or cost efficient.
Putting on hat #1;
I am on the board of directors for the McCandless Township Sanitary Authority, just north of Pittsburgh. Wearing hat 1, I can ask the MTSA to consider installing a no cost test network to be built and tested. Typical data would be flow meter readings, wet well levels, pump statuses, electric and generator statuses. A big plus would be a way to log the data and review it graphically, and generate reports.
Putting on hat #2;
Am a design engineer and have developed numerous embedded wireless devices, with the ability to create whatever hardware and software is necessary. I would bear the costs of developing the hardware for MTSA. My goal is to create the technology, with the intent of making it a commercial product when done.
Question #1
OpenChirp is open, what does this mean to a commercial product?
Question #2… the data is really only meant to shuttle around the municipal system in question. It does not really have to go to anyone else or even to the great IOT in the sky. Is OpenChirp a fit here, or overkill?
Chris~

This sounds like an ideal LoRaWAN application in terms of data rate and scope. We have experimented with laser distance sensors (for bridge deflection) that we can duty-cycle enough to run off of batteries for a few years. For water depth, I have seen people use ultrasound which is in a similar ballpark in terms of energy. 30 second update rate should be fine for both energy and bandwidth supporting hundreds of sensors. You could even perhaps try our laser sensor, but its not great if the water is crystal clear unless you can put a float in it.

Question #1
OpenChirp is open, what does this mean to a commercial product?

I’m not sure we have landed on the official license yet, but it will either be Apache or BSD. That basically means you can roll it into a commercial project without worrying.

Question #2… the data is really only meant to shuttle around the municipal system in question. It does not really have to go to anyone else or even to the great IOT in the sky. Is OpenChirp a fit here, or overkill?

Being able to manage and connect your data to other systems more easily will likely be a win in the long run. It will let you add analytics, alerts and more sensors easily as new technologies and services become available. I don’t think OpenChirp would be overkill and you would benefit from new features we will be rolling out (trending, analytics, anomaly detection, etc). That being said, you could always run a stripped down version of the system.

One of the wins we see for OpenChirp is being able to crowd-source the network. For critical infrastructure applications we definitely see the need for guaranteed quality-of-service and the ability to protect certain data. Other industrial partners have already brought this up. This would likely mean running your own backend that could connect with the main system, but would only transport public traffic if bandwidth was available. The win for the critical infrastructure apps would be resilience to single points of failure if your system goes down as well as the potential coverage boost (we will be releasing something quite interesting on that front next year).

Since you are in the Pittsburgh area, we should probably chat. Our team is looking for some interesting pilot sensing projects and we would be happy to help get you guys going.

-Anthony

Thanks Anthony, great thoughts. While smiling and entertaining family the last few days, on my laptop were datasheets and such. I will get my prototype operating and see if we can uptick it with OpenChrip.
I am planning to use the RN2903 with the LoRaWAN stack already on it.
I consult for a living, and can navigate to you any time. I went to Pitt Engineering and know your neighborhood well.
Thanks,
Chris~

Sounds good. Feel free to reach out if / when it makes sense to sync up. I’ll be traveling the next few weeks, but perhaps late December or early next year.

Anthony

Ahoy Anthony… I have built some hardware, and writing software, but if I am to work with OpenChirp, I need to set my requirements to get much further in software. This can be a great time to meet. The Authority that I am going to work with is very receptive. if you have time to meet, email me, ceddy at nb dot net. I will come out to Oakland if you like. Thanks!