ENGIE joined uCIFI in July 2018, right after the official launch at the IoT Expo in Amsterdam. We met Raphaël Kazadi, Business Developer Executive for the Decentralized Solutions for Cities and Territories at ENGIE, to know why.
Could you please introduce your company?
ENGIE is a large group dedicated to energy transition. Beside delivering electricity and gas to millions of houses,ENGIE works with Cities to design, deliver and operate tools, infrastructures and services that transform cities, make them more sustainable, attractive and resilient. Connectivity plays a central role in improving cities infrastructure usage and services. ENGIE is strongly engaged to deliver digital & connectivity services to Cities and Territories by deploying Fiber and IoT networks in cities.
In this regards, being part of uCIFI alliance can offer us the possibility to better understand cities needs and be part of their transformation.
What is your company position about open standard technologies?
At ENGIE, our goal is to offer the best technology to deliver the best and most suitable service to our customers. As a result, ENGIE has to be technology and network agnostic. Interoperability between devices from multiple suppliers is obviously one of the main requests from cities when it comes to deploying large smart city, smart streetlight or smart meter networks. So, ENGIE is committed to open and interoperable solutions that allow transparency to cities. In addition, open and interoperable systems contribute to bringing new players and innovations on the market, for the benefits of cities and companies like ours.
Why did you join uCIFI?
First, uCIFI brings solutions to a real pain from cities and utilities. Today, when deploying smart city solutions (e.g. smart streetlight), they are locked by proprietary systems. There is no wireless solution today on the market where devices from one supplier is compatible with other suppliers in an open and interoperable way. As a consequence, cities are locked with one vendor for the next 10 years, risking major failure and to lose public money investment. Thanks to uCIFI, we hope to contribute to truly interoperable systems.
Then, our customers are asking for open solutions. And ENGIE is committed to answer customer’s needs rather than imposing proprietary systems. With such open and interoperable systems, ENGIE, and our customers, would not be dependent on single vendor. We would have the choice, foster competition and could better negotiate solution pricing.
We’ll try to actively contribute to the uCIFI technical workgroup to get all the benefits of open systems in our future projects.
What do you think uCIFI and your future uCIFI-compatible products will bring to your customers?
In addition to the previous benefits, we expect uCiFi to define an open source long range mesh network, which would be ideal for our street lighting network. It would enable interoperable dynamic lighting systems with multiple compatible suppliers all connected to the same network. Our technologies, including FLASHNET, a recently acquired technology who already had interoperable solutions on power-line networks, could support uCiFi and benefit from such an open technology.