Nova Communications Helps Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Become a Smart Community

As a systems integrator specializing in wireless voice and data applications, Nova Communications has been heavily involved in leveraging ever-advancing technology to build stronger communication networks. Our skills were put to the test when we partnered with Zebra Technologies to transform the historic port of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia into a smart community.

Lunenburg is a vibrant working harbour town with a rich heritage in fishing and shipbuilding – including the award-winning schooner, Bluenose II – with one of its major industries being tourism. As travellers have become more reliant on their mobile devices and wireless accessibility, Lunenburg saw an opportunity to use leading wireless for their heritage town.

Nova worked with the Town of Lunenburg stakeholders to develop a progressive vision for a smart community that was far beyond just “free WiFi”. The town understood the value of value-added applications and services to enhance the visitor experience, promote local businesses, conserve energy, and improve the sustainability of the solution in the process.

We analyzed the various challenges of powering up a robust wireless network, including the fact that many visitors came via the ocean, in cruise ships and private sailing vessels. So, in addition to the access points on land, we needed to extend the signals into the harbour.

The Nova Communications team worked closely with Zebra’s experts in mesh wide area networks (MWAN). We developed and deployed Zebra’s 802.11n mesh wide area network and a smart metering system to create a more robust, reliable wireless network. Not only does this high-powered system give more users speedy Internet access, but it obtains data essential to the town about the users on the network. The operators can see where visitors are located, the places they frequent (and those they don’t), and the amount of usage. Using this data, they have been able to tailor messaging and offers to these visitors, wherever they are in Lunenburg, even moored off the coast.

We also installed smart meters in residential and commercial properties. These electric meters show real-time electricity usage, which helps the residents improve their energy conservation because they can immediately see the impact of their choices.

An important part of this challenge was finding a way to monetize the ongoing maintenance of the WiFi MWAN. We created two revenue streams for Lunenburg: selling advertising space on the website to reach more tourists, and selling upgraded connectivity to visitors.

Because more towns, cities, convention centres, stadiums and other large-scale venues are seeking to provide a better customer experience, the concept of the “smart community” approach is gaining interest. We documented our challenges and solution in this brief.

Nova Communications has created a scalable solution as a result of this extensive transformation. Talk to us about how we can help tailor a wireless network and value-added services that will deliver on the drivers that are important to your community.

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