It is winter in Boston and the recent freezing temperatures here have reached the lowest in 10 years. How do extreme weather conditions impact outdoor smart city structures like the CIVIQ WayPoint?
We speak about what it means to be “urban rugged” with CIVIQ’s Director of Product Marketing, Hanan Markovich.
What challenges do you face when you’re designing a structure that needs to live on the street in wet weather and icy conditions?
We make that fine balance between design, functionality and durability. We achieve this through custom engineering, fine tuning and testing to make our WayPoints compact and urban rugged to withstand any extreme weather conditions.
Water, snow and even dust can damage the internal components of our structures. So at the design stage, , we factor in “ingress” protection for the internal electrical components. For example, we use special filters to ensure that the air that goes into the device to help cool the electrical components doesn’t introduce dust that can affect the performance of the device. We also provide sealing against water intrusion.
We then conduct extensive testing before any device is placed on the street and measure its uptime – in other words - how long can the device operate until it needs to be serviced, or until some sort of error is introduced into the system.
While being tested, the structure undergoes various simulations to see how it performs in challenging, “on-the-street” outdoor environments. We mimic a heavy rainstorm by spraying our structures thoroughly with water, create mock dust storms and apply solar loads in our lab testing environment.
And to support our testing, we also build in the ability to software monitor and control the structure’s performance in real-time. Our WayPoints are equipped with multiple sensors which measure temperature, humidity, flooding, light, fan speed and power. Our CIVIQ SmartX software allows real-time, remote control dynamic tuning of the structures' performance to ensure optimal operation. For example, if the unit is operating in a challenging hot environment the cooling fans will kick in to retain the optimal temperature for performance. We can even dim the displays remotely if needed. Furthermore, we can control each and every fan, display, media player, heaters and many more electronic components.
What about in hot conditions?
Heat is a primary challenge that may damage the electronic components or shorten their lives! The cooler we can keep them, the longer they will perform. This is why we spend so much time in testing and refining the heat dissipation to the environment. So in addition to the testing above, we use heat lamps in our lab to create the same conditions as full sun exposure on an extremely hot day. Our structures continue to perform in temperatures of around 50 degrees Celsius or 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
We also understand that some of our devices include multiple computing components; each generating its own heat. In a slim, compact structure such as ours, that can become a problem. But our advanced cooling system has solves this problem. Equipped with 6 fans, CIVIQ’s cooling system allows us to monitor the performance of each fan and even service them remotely.
How do you design for hurricane wind speeds?
The main issue with hurricane wind speeds and tornados is that they may cause a structure to break away from its street mounting. Therefore we make detailed calculations to design a mounting structure and installation procedure that ensures a safe and durable deployment.
What about man-made threats, such as vandalism?
CIVIQ carefully considers vandalism in all design aspects. Our structures use a double pane laminated safety glass for both the interactive and non-interactive screens. This glass is highly resistant to vandalism, but also fails in a safe manner in a failure event. The structures are also designed with an intentional elimination of flat surfaces, handholds, or footholds that prevent users from depositing trash on the unit or climbing the structure. This design also carefully considers vandalism by graffiti and etching. The outer surfaces of the structures use a graffiti resistant coating to allow for easy cleaning and maintenance. All outer surfaces are also maintainable and “hot-swappable” to permit fast field replacements if required.
What is Urban Rugged?
Urban rugged is a standard we’ve internally defined at CIVIQ. Our devices are built to operate 24/7, 365 days a year and provide the highest uptime for every customer. World class reliability--that’s our goal at CIVIQ.