The River Mondego project was presented today in Coimbra. Created by a local startup, it consists of a technological solution allowing the flow of the river to be monitored using IoT (Internet of Things) sensors installed at five different points to enable action to be taken in the case of floods. The motivation to develop this solution occurred one year ago, after one of the worst floods ever experienced in Coimbra.
The River Mondego is the fifth largest river in Portugal and often causes flooding, with accounts of floods dating back to the 14th century. The usual causes are intense rainfall, natural silting of the river and destruction caused by forest fires, which usually cause irreparable damage. Last year alone, for example, an estimated 2.5 million euros worth of damage was caused.
At a time when the most advanced technologies play an ever more prominent role in the development of society, helping bring about a considerable improvement in the standard of living, as well as the day-to-day running of cities, several “smart cities” solutions have been developed to minimise the impacts of natural occurrences. The IoT device created by the River Mondego project is a boon for one of the regions that suffers the most from flooding.
The solution was developed in the Vodafone Power Lab by three students from the Electronic Engineering and Computers department of Coimbra University’s Science and Technology Faculty. It monitors the flow of the river and sends information about the water level and its oscillations to a cloud service in real time. The readings are taken using an ultrasonic sensor, equivalent to the technology used in car park sensors.
Based on the data received, the behaviour of the river is analysed using artificial intelligence, and as information about the water level is gathered it becomes easier to predict the likelihood of floods and to identify the factors that most contribute to their occurring. The data is automatically available at www.riomondego.com.
As well as functioning as a warning for possible floods, the River Mondego project also aims to raise awareness about the sustainable use of water as a scarce resource. It does so through the possibility of monitoring the water reservoirs and dams, predicting drought situations.
The project has been supported by the Vodafone Power Lab since the end of last year and arises at a time in which the Internet of Things is expected to trigger authentic revolutions in societies, whereby the internet will be one of the pillars of the 4th industrial revolution – the digital revolution.
The Vodafone Group is playing a leading role in this panorama. In March, the Vodafone Group became the first operator in the world to surpass 50 million IoT connections, putting the Company in an ideal position in the construction of the cities of the future, which will be more intelligent and sustainable, interconnecting devices, organisations, citizens and services that benefit the whole community. This positioning is emphasised in Vodafone’s stated goal regarding IoT: “To connect every Machine to transform lives and businesses”.
In Portugal, Vodafone has an Internet of Things Skills Centre, with a specialised and dedicated team, working every day on the development of IoT solutions both for the national market and for the whole of the Vodafone Group.
About the Vodafone Power Lab
The Vodafone Power Lab is a programme to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship that Vodafone Portugal began in 2009. Its aim is to stimulate the creation of technological projects through support in the form of incubation, mentoring, workshops and training, providing new companies with the conditions to allow them to develop.
Every year Vodafone Power Lab receives over 400 applications seeking this support, most of which come through the acceleration programmes in Lisbon (AUDAX – ISCTE Lisbon Labs), Porto (UPTEC) and Coimbra (Instituto Pedro Nunes), and from the annual BIG Smart Cities pre-acceleration contest, one of the main facets of the Vodafone Power Lab. These initiatives clearly show how the support provided by this programme can be essential in the implementation, development and successful launch of a business idea on the market.
In addition to yielding co-working premises and supporting the startups with mentoring and training sessions, the Vodafone Power Lab also encourages contact with investors and supports the launch and publicising of their products on the market. Vodafone Power Lab’s various initiatives have helped over one hundred projects and contributed to the creation of more than 200 new jobs.