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Making Smarter Cities Thanks to Better Management Systems

By Ken Briodagh
January 29, 2019

The IoT Evolution Expo is coming up fast, and we recently interviewed our sponsors and exhibitors to get a bit of a preview of what to expect from them at the show, and some insights into their view on the IoT industry.

Here, we spoke to DimOnOff, which will be exhibiting in booth 1610 at the IoT Evolution Expo.

DimOnOff is a pioneer and innovator of remote control & monitoring technologies and ranks among the top players in the smart cities management market. Headquartered in Quebec City, Canada, DimOnOff is the result of more than 12 years invested in R&D to create the ultimate IoT, Smart City Management System “SCMS.”

To visit with DimOnOff, click here to register.

Here is a little preview of the company’s thinking:

How has the evolution of IoT technology over the past 12 months helped the industry grow?

First and foremost, IoT has evolved from the ''curious & feasible'' state to the ''rolled-out & demonstrated'' state, and in numerous kinds of environments.

Security issues have been escalated amongst the most serious players, newer hardware has been developed, especially in the field of wireless mesh networks to clear the issues of network reliability, better interference immunity, higher scalability, through the proper use of best-of-breed protocol stacks.

So, yes, the environment has clearly evolved for the better in the past 12 months. But it is like anything else, ''you get what you pay for'', and although IoT is the space to be these days, it also means the market will be lured by too many less-than-mature Tech providers, and this always hurts the reputation of the market as a whole. Best-of-breed still has its importance, especially in Smart City applications where IoT assets will be required to have long lifetime.

In that aspect, look for technology platforms (both hardware & software) to be future-proof, i.e., capable to not only be upgradable (typically over-the-air, for firmware, O/S, and radios firmware), but especially for the software layer (SCMS – Smart City Management System) to be capable of adapting to newer types of IoT devices (future sensors and specific protocols, for example).

What does Digital Transformation mean to your business?

DT means more real-time, more monitoring, more metering, more control, in order to carry more intelligence at the edge. It also means having more intelligence executed at the edge and use more real-time data and insightful information to trigger actions, not just data for the sake of having lots of historical data. In fact, DT means that you can get rid of most large data stores, because the real value of most of this data is instantaneous.

What elements of the IoT are most relevant to your company?

We cannot say it loud enough: IoT is a software game… but you need Things to play. Topics such as insightfulness, scalability, security, ease-of-use (because IoT is used by people to do their work: ex: monitoring – supervising – improving automation…) are all results of well-architected software. If it looks easy, that’s because software does all the hard work, because an end-to-end IoT infrastructure is complex.

But above software is the concept of Platform, with which you can define any type of application types and layers for any kind of asset and be capable of describing from fields to formats & units, all the way to the protocol it will be communication with, based on the provider used by that asset (e.g. sensors).

DimOnOff made the decision, several years ago, to invest in an end-to-end solution platform, from nodes to gateways to server to software, because scalability and user-experience require extreme performance.

But once scalability is reached and you have built the best possible environment for massive street lighting control, you start asking the question: '' Did we really make the City smarter by controlling & monitoring 100k lights? '' - R: Not really.

And that’s how the idea of creating a Platform that can support any type of controller and sensor, current & future, was born. Can we learn from the City the same way we humans do: using our senses to look, listen, even smell, and then recognize these senses and communicate the results to execute actions?

Are you using IoT technologies and systems in your company’s operations? In what way? If not, why not?

Yes. Obviously for Lighting & Building automation, but also in Manufacturing.

What are the new IoT technologies that you’re most excited to explore in 2019?

In 2019, DimOnOff will roll out its own wireless mesh radio, for much better scalability and superior interference immunity, which has become a more serious issue given the immense volume of wireless devices using public bands (non-regulated, therefore subject to excessive duty cycle from low quality hardware provider).

We will continue exploring the may IoT services included in the Microsoft Azure IoT infrastructure. Being a Microsoft Partner, DimOnOff has rebuilt the SCMS platform to make optimal use of Azure’s jaw dropping capabilities. Deploying on Azure enables us to serve hundreds of smaller villages and municipalities, simultaneously using one single platform, managed by one master-ESCO, and provide all these small communities the exact same level of technology that was only accessible to large cities with their own IT department. Easily, quickly, from a simple browser, split into business units and zones, managing each user’s right & rules. Finally, a new family of edge-sensors is on the drawing board. Stay tuned.

How has your outlook on security changed over the last year? What security strategies do you anticipate leveraging in 2019?

Working with cities and utilities warrants the need to put security at the forefront of our R&D roadmap. Growing public concerns about potential security breaches, whether they be in connected assets or in other web services better known to the general public, does not help the cause of IoT for public infrastructure and it is part of our role to demonstrate the security of our solution with the help of our partners.

Are you active in the Healthcare, LPWAN, Smart City, and/or Industrial IoT verticals? How so? Which are most exciting for you?

Yes. DimOnOff has been, since its inception, been focused primarily on the topic of smart street lighting. Realizing that a large municipal deployment on every street light represents a beautiful canopy of telecommunication, 30ft up in the air, it didn’t take long to realize that many more applications (sensors, controllers) could tag along that same network.

DimOnOff is now making its foray in the new world of Smart Spaces with asset tracking IoT devices, using the same versatile software platform used for Smart Cities.

Are Edge Technologies and IoT mesh networks taking a larger role in your operations and/or product offerings? How so, or why not?

Definitely. We are all about Edge-devices, communicating on wireless mesh networks.

The interesting question is: How much intelligence can you execute at the edge, in order to reduce bandwidth usage to such a low level that the transfer of information can be handled by a low-band wireless mesh network. This is where we are at: DimOnOff has already demonstrated such level of product & technologies at recent shows (Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas: July ’18, and others)

What will you have on display at your booth and why should attendees make it a point to visit you at your booth?

Real live demonstrations of real full-scale city deployments of IoT applications.

What are you most looking forward to at IoT Evolution 2019?

We are eager to get in touch with cities, municipalities and channel partners from different regions of North America and beyond to expand the use of DimOnOff | SCMS and design better services for citizens.

The IoT Evolution Expo, and collocated events, IoT Evolution Health, LPWAN Expo, The Smart City Event, and IIoT Conference, will take place Jan. 29 to Feb 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Visit to register now.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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