A cutting edge technology is helping City of Airdrie employees gain an edge. The city recently installed a mobile mesh wireless network at various points throughout the city to allow city employees with a laptop and a wireless repeater to connect to the City of Airdrie network from 5 KM away. The technology is the first of its kind in Canada and will allow mobile city employees, such as Municipal Enforcement, to access information on the fly. “This system will allow us to provide better customer service, such as accessing current dog licensing information right on the spot,” said Officer Russ McKeage, a municipal enforcement officer. “It creates a workstation right in our vehicle, giving us instant access to all the tools we need to do our jobs. It is another example of the City of Airdrie always looking for new technology to make things more efficient for our customers and employees.” Secure Group, a company based in the United States, brought the technology north. “Secure Group is delighted to provide the City of Airdrie with the Secure Wireless Mobile Mesh Network,” said Sean Walinga of Secure Group. “Airdrie continues to lead the way by adopting new technologies and remains a flagship for other communities.”
The project has been in the city’s plan for some time.“Mobile wireless is something that the city has been looking at for probably four years,” said Jay Stoudt, information technology team leader with the City of Airdrie. “The intention is to get workers access to the internal LAN system when they’re out in the field. It allows them to get access to information immediately. It allows them to be more sustainable and make less trips back and forth.”
It will add to the safety of Municipal Enforcement, Stoudt added. “They would be warned of any warrant information before they get out of the car,” he said.
Stoudt added that the total cost of the project was under $100,000. The environmental aspects are a bonus. A self-contained solar powered radio repeater was used in the project. That technology is also a first in Canada, according to the City of Airdrie.
The Mobile Mesh Wireless Network currently covers approximately 60 per cent of Airdrie. Plans are in place to cover the entire city within three months.
The technology will also allow building inspectors to check permits on site. The entire city is proud to take the lead with this technology. “We pride our technology department on being leading edge to provide the best kind of technology to allow them to do their jobs more effectively,” Stoudt said.
“It’s kind of a feather in our cap.”