In smart cities, lighting is connected. A means of optimising and saving energy, connected street lights deployed in cities communicate with remote control platforms and could generate energy savings of up to 70%.
Smart cities worldwide will have 1.6 billion connected devices in 2016, and 3.3 billion by 2018, according to Gartner’s latest forecasts. Smart cities are just part of an industry that will boast over 50 billion connected objects by 2020. Amid this myriad of devices, smart street lighting systems play a major role. And the benefits are considerable: whilst conventional public lighting is expensive, LED and connected solutions can reduce energy consumption and costs.
Telecoms operator Vodafone, in partnership with SFR in France and Philips Lighting, are setting up a street lighting management system using M2M technology. The street lamps will contain Vodaphone SIM cards enabling city authorities to monitor and manage lighting and engineers to check performance, identify faults and control the lighting remotely. In addition to the cost-savings generated by LED technology, centralised management of the lighting will, say Philips Lighting, significantly reduce energy consumption.
The benefits of connected, remotely-controlled street-lighting systems include the ability to monitor energy consumption on line, reduce maintenance cost and time thanks to real-time information on the status of each light, the possibility of dimming or turning up the lights as required, and data analysis capabilities in order to optimise the systems.
“Just less than 12% of the world’s street lights are LED and less than 2% are connected,” said Bill Bien, SVP, Head of Strategy and Marketing, at Philips Lighting. “We are at the start of a new era which will see highly energy efficient connected street lighting become the backbone of most smart cities.”
A growing number of high-tech companies and lighting specialist are breaking into the smart lighting market. Samsung Electronics and Silver Spring Networks, for example, recently joined forces to develop a smart LED street lights solution.
The system should enable lighting manufacturers to take advantage of a pre-integrated networked photocell with auto-configuration and management capabilities and will build on Silver Spring’s IPv6- based Gen5 wireless networking platform and SLV6 smart city management software, and the Samsung Smart Lighting Module (SLM) that powers the Samsung Smart Lighting Platform (SLP).
Tangible benefits for cities through smart lighting
Pioneering smart city Buenos Aires currently manages over 700,000 products for its lighting system. The city analyses data from the sensors in real time and thus can monitor lighting and energy-consumption levels. In addition, the remote-control features mean that each lamp can be adjusted, resulting in reduced energy and maintenance costs. By using connected lighting the Argentinian capital will make energy savings of over 50%, whilst improving safety and quality of life for the city’s 13 million inhabitants.
In Paris, meanwhile, Silver Spring Networks has been selected to deploy a smart street light network. The citywide canopy network will connect the above-ground and subterranean cabinet-based controllers for street and traffic lights.
“With more than 2 million citizens and 16 million annual visitors, modernizing the public lighting infrastructure for ‘The City of Lights’ while preserving its world-renowned aesthetic is a crucial undertaking”, said Scott Lang, CEO of Silver Spring Networks.
The project is expected to improve system reliability, increase energy efficiency, lower operational costs, extend equipment lifespans, and enhance citizen safety and quality of life.