How Smart Outdoor Lighting Can Improve Efficiency and Safety in Cities

In a previous post, we discussed why organizations are switching to Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting. Today’s energy-efficient LED bulbs require so little power that PoE can easily deliver the necessary electricity through a data networking cable, which is less expensive than traditional copper wire and conduit. This also allows organizations to connect lighting to the Internet of Things (IoT), better control lighting consumption, and install fixtures just about anywhere without hiring an electrician.

While most PoE lighting projects have focused on indoor installations, cities are now extending the concept to outdoor street lighting. By providing greater visibility on and around roadways, intersections, parking lots, sidewalks and other areas, street lighting can improve public safety by reducing the risk of accidents and deterring crime.

Bright lights in big cities are nothing new, but traditional, fluorescent lighting comes at a high price. Outdoor PoE lighting, on the other hand, is a relatively new trend that can maximize the efficiency of LED lights. Sensors can be used to dim and brighten lights in real time when necessary. With longer lifespans and low power requirements, the ROI for LED lights is easy to see. But efficiency is just the first step.

When outdoor lighting is connected to the IoT, it opens the door to new capabilities and applications. Smart lighting systems can be centrally managed to control power consumption and alert maintenance teams in case of an outage. Additional applications and services, including wireless Internet routers, video surveillance cameras and weather measurement capabilities, can be embedded into networked LED systems. These tools can be valuable to law enforcement and emergency response teams, as well as residents who want to check traffic conditions and parking availability.

Cisco, CIMCON and Mtuity have developed solutions to help smart cities optimize their outdoor lighting systems:

Cisco 1000 Series Connected Grid Routers help smart cities integrate and optimize street lighting and other applications. This is the same technology that utilities use to manage smart metering, grid reliability, and the integration of renewable energy resources. Ruggedized for outdoor deployments, modular 1000 Series Connected Grid Routers support a number of communication interfaces, including Ethernet, and can aggregate up to 5,000 endpoints. Embedded management features simplify and automate many routine tasks to reduce operating expenses.

CIMCON Lighting offers intelligent, street light control systems that enable cities to create a multiservice platform for improving cost efficiency, energy efficiency and sustainability. A web-based Central Management System is used to remotely control and monitor lighting capabilities and manage scheduling through wireless connections. CIMCON’s adaptive dimming reduces energy costs by at least 30 percent, while automated health monitoring can reduce maintenance and repair costs by up to 50 percent.

Mtuity’s cloud-based Atlantis solution is capable of improving productivity, efficiency and quality of life by connecting city infrastructure over a common network, data layer and stack. Data from sensors and other sources enables remote monitoring and optimization of IT infrastructure. Light sensory networks turn LED lights into smart devices that capture and transmit data in real time, providing valuable insights that can be used to improve a wide range of city services.

Research and Markets expects the number of street lights in the world to increase from 315 million in 2016 to 359 million by 2026. Cities should start evaluating the cost and effectiveness of legacy lighting against the efficiency and intelligence of LED lighting when connected to the IoT.