Member Profile: LorCan Technologies
Providing easier access to data in rugged and hostile remote environments
“There is not enough data gathered to inform and meet SDG targets,” says Clements. “For example, weather events cause impacts to data gathering because in a hostile environment it is not possible to physically obtain the data from remotely located sensors.”
LorCan has developed a hardware and software data transference unit (DTU) using long-range communications technologies that takes information from IoT sensors and relays it in real-time to a secure cloud platform that provides easy access for analysis. The DTU’s purpose is to allow sensors to be placed off-grid and off-net, across various terrain, while avoiding the need for a human to trek out into hostile and rugged areas to retrieve the data, as is the case in many scenarios today. Currently, data collection methods in such environments often require manual data extraction, which means the data can be outdated by the time it is analyzed.
Minelli’s career began in the telecommunications industry paired with volunteer work at the Yukon to Yellowstone Conservation Initiative, an agency that monitors wildlife corridors, where she provided systems support. While there, she observed that many researchers journeyed out to retrieve information from data-collecting devices.
“The town of Canmore was expanding, and new infrastructure was being developed. [The Conservation Initiative] had to ensure migration patterns of wildlife were kept intact. This meant they had to go out to remote areas to manually get the data,” says Clements.
Knowing that telecom connectivity in very remote areas does not exist, Minelli reached out to friends who work in land conservation. “The more I dug into it, I learned the problem exists in other industries,” says Clements.
Minelli connected with fellow classmates from the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology program at the University of Waterloo. Together they launched LorCan in 2019. LorCan has established itself as a thriving startup. It has been accepted into Earth Tech, an accelerator for climate and water technology solutions. The Centre for Social Innovation highlighted Lorcan and Minelli: ‘How 12 Women Entrepreneurs Are Building the Next Economy.’
LorCan is now focused on projects that will make a positive impact on remote communities and ecosystems. One project in the works is with Reseau, a not-for-profit organization developing technology specific to water health equity for Indigenous and rural communities in British Columbia (B.C.) and the Yukon. There is a very remote and sparsely populated community of 1200 to 1300 people on an island off the coast B.C. with only one water tower with a monitoring system that is not delivering a strong enough signal to the water monitoring plant.
“The sensors in the water tower are not connected because the water tower lies outside the range of the closest cell tower. To automate, we are creating a relay to the cell tower,” explains Clements. “Water monitoring is very important. Access to clean water is critical for a community to thrive.”
When Minelli learned about the GEDI Exchange, she saw value in LorCan to becoming a member. She appreciates the connections and introductions to other companies that the GEDI Exchange facilitates. “I think the GEDI Exchange is a clear path to finding resources and partnerships to accelerate your business growth,” says Clements.