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Orillia, Bell Smart City pilot project wraps up

Posted on Tuesday October 01, 2019

For immediate release (Oct. 1, 2019) – The pilot project between the City of Orillia and Bell Canada has wrapped up after more than a year of researching and implementing various smart technologies for the city.

“The City went into this pilot project with an open mind and willingness to explore new and innovative technologies. We learned a lot through the development and implementation of the various Bell applications,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “The Smart Cities Working Group will continue to explore opportunities that will advance the work to date, while identifying new opportunities to make City operations more efficient in a cost effective manner.”

The City and Bell entered into a one-year Smart City research partnership in May 2018. The partnership was extended by four months to allow for additional data gathering and application assessment. The partnership focused on the development of four specific applications: waste water infiltration, snow plow visualization, public WiFi in the downtown/waterfront, and two digital kiosks. Each application sought to use digital data to inform both City operations and Orillia residents in order to make decisions more efficiently.

“The City and Bell worked very well together and as with any pilot project, both parties used the experience to develop and execute new ideas. Everything we learned through the pilot project will now inform decisions as we look to potentially operationalize various aspects. We look forward to continuing to explore how the City can use new technologies to do business,” said Richard Bertolo, Director of Business Development for the City of Orillia.

“Bell appreciates the opportunity to have demonstrated how our Smart City platform can contribute to Orillia’s digital future,” said Gary Semplonius, Bell Senior Vice President. “We look forward to continued discussions with the City about enhancing city operations and providing new services for residents though Smart City technologies.”

With the conclusion of the pilot, the free public WiFi in the downtown/waterfront has been decommissioned. Through the pilot project, the City learned that in order to deploy an appropriate and reliable WiFi in a setting such as the downtown/waterfront area there will need to be some infrastructure improvements. The City is currently assessing the overall cost of doing such work.

The two digital kiosks will remain in place until Bell determines a plan for decommissioning and removing them. The Snow Plow Tracker mobile application proved very popular with residents and the City is exploring options for continuing to provide snow plow information in a mobile application.

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Richard Bertolo
Director, Business Development


Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)


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