GreenCityZen and Sigfox France connect the city of Marseille’s storm drains

GreenCityZen and Sigfox France connect the city of Marseille's storm drains

GreenCityZen’s solution and Sigfox’s 0G network provide the Marseille Métropole sanitation department (Seramm) with an economical and ecological connected storm drain network.

Eco-startup GreenCityZen, a greentech pioneer in IoT for industry and smart city, has selected Sigfox to connect 5,000 downspouts (entry points into the river network) on the Marseille sewerage network.

The technology from Sigfox, one of the world’s leading providers of IoT communication services and the originator of the 0G network, allows Seramm to retrieve data from sensor-equipped gutters to improve their performance and reduce the number of interventions.

Although drains are designed to collect rainwater, they also collect waste abandoned on the public highway, which causes operational problems and pollution. Drains clogged by waste can no longer fulfill their primary purpose, and there is also an ecological impact as waste accumulated in the drains transfers into the natural environment during rainfall.

To address these issues, GreenCityZen has developed the HummBox platform for the continuous monitoring of stormwater drains in sewerage networks. The application detects waste levels, and can therefore “decarbonize” operation and cleaning of gutters, as it is no longer necessary to travel to determine if a storm drain is full. The startup called on Sigfox France and its 0G network to collect the data sent back by the sensors placed in drains in a real-time, simple and sustainable way.

Self-powered sensors connect directly to the Internet via the Sigfox network, and each drain is logged in advance within the application where details are recorded, including: a description, images, the condition of the instrumentation, its fill rate and any necessary interventions. Before this collaboration began, the city of Marseille carried out 50,000 inspection visits, only to clean 50% of the drains, while others lay empty.

Deploying IoT has transformed Seramm operators’ jobs by providing better data on the drains across the city and therefore immediate visibility of the assets requiring maintenance, as well as a better insight into the type of maintenance required without needing an initial site visit. In addition, the data collected provides useful statistics to the sanitation department and ultimately improves its performance.

Alexandre Boudonne, director of operations at GreenCityZen, said:
“The IoT, the latest technology in the digital transformation of our economies, has had a considerable impact. At GreenCityZen we see it as an opportunity for the environment and, with the support of Sigfox, we have been able to implement new use cases to improve the performance of the Seramm while helping to preserve our planet.”

“Sigfox’s mission is to digitize the physical world while committing to harnessing and delivering the benefits of IoT in ways that sustain and respect our environment. This collaboration with GreenCityZen is particularly well suited to this mission and allows us to support a high-potential “made in France” startup,” adds Patrick Cason, CEO of Sigfox France.

By September 2021, in Marseille, 2,000 drains were already equipped with the HummBox solution and connected to the Sigfox network. Another 3,000 should follow by 2022.

These intelligent solutions should soon be rolled out nationally and then exported internationally. SUEZ has also called on GreenCityZen to install other types of sensors in vacuum sewer networks. The objective is to monitor the frequency of valve opening and report any problems to the operator. The Sigfox 0G network allows the sensors to communicate, even though they are sometimes buried or under a cast iron plate.

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