The Connected Snow Removal Camera Solution (CSRCS) project was the product of several large enterprises including Global Roadway Maintenance (GRM), TELUS, Houle Electric, Mobotix Corp., and Sierra Wireless who all came together to create a tool that could bring a new idea into practice. Global Roadway Maintenance came up with a way to improve their snow removal operations by having access to real-time weather information at each snow removal site. This project delivered a device that can provide real-time weather information, visuals, and notifications when a drop in temperature is detected, enabling the operator to dispatch equipment effectively.
Houle Electric contributed to the physical design, algorithm design, integration specialties, in-house prefabrication, Canada-wide installation services, and on-going remote monitoring services which made this project possible. Houle Electric found increased value in the design of the Connected Snow Removal Camera through a process of value engineering. Originally the design included a PVC scepter hinged box to house the various electrical components, but upon re-examination Houle’s design team decided to explore the benefits of using steel. It was determined that steel provides the ability to ground the antenna and shield interference (unlike the PVC). Switching to steel would also prevent intermodulation distortion, likely reducing the frequency of service calls once units were deployed to the field. As these cameras are being installed on poles and the sides of buildings, steel also acts as a lightning and surge protector during storms, whereas the PVC enclosure would be destroyed.
Houle knew at the start of this project it was going to be challenging to collaborate with so many independent companies in a way that would allow our product, services, and expertise to come together in a seamless way. TELUS and Houle were able to overcome this barrier by working together to trial and test solutions. Houle also had to overcome the difficult barrier of designing a product to function in the various outdoor climates that Canada has to offer. From the scorching summer temperatures of the interior BC to the freezing arctic winters of Yellowknife, Houle was challenged to come up with a design to function under a wide variety of weather conditions while staying on budget.
The project was successful because of the excellent communication and collaboration between stakeholders. No safety incidents or lost time occurred during this project. Houle ensured that materials were obtained well in advance to prevent the schedule from being impacted. Materials arrived at our prefabrication shop and were assembled and packaged in custom boxes for shipping to the installation site.