“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody,” writes Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, “only because, and only when, they are created for everybody.”
Smart cities leverage connectivity and control technology to provide city managers information, greater control and the ability to enhance services. The primary driver is cost reduction via energy savings and improve service efficiency. However, smart cities can also improve quality of life and life/safety while enabling city managers to better manage growth and change.
Like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), definitions of what a “smart city” actually is varies. Todd Smith, Head of Engineering and Solution Development, OSRAM, defines it as a fully realized system that has the below capabilities:
A smart city integrates buildings, information technology and energy systems that may include lighting, automation, life/safety, telecommunications and facilities management. All of these systems run on Ethernet/IP to enable human/system/object interaction, response and reporting.
“A smart city should reinforce the best of what a city can offer to the people who want to live there,” says Susanne Seitinger, PhD, Philips Lighting, Professional Systems. “That means, among other things, maintaining a high quality of life in urban environments as they become denser and busier.”
Lighting as smart city backbone
As in the built environment, public street and area lighting is ubiquitous in urban environments. The primary goal is to impact the visual appearance of spaces and make them accessible and safer at night. Lighting also affects a city’s identity and character. LED lighting has been demonstrated to generate up to 50-70 percent energy savings, which increases to 80 percent when paired with controls.
The miniaturization of microprocessor technology has resulted in the ability to embed intelligence and sensors/cameras in lamps and luminaires. These devices can then be networked to receive programming and send data. For example, the streetlight could be programmed to dim or turn OFF on a scheduled basis during non-peak hours. Additional sensors could transmit a broad range of other data.
“Due to their digital nature, these lighting controls are inherently compatible with LEDs,” Smith says. “Therefore, LEDs deployed with lighting controls have the potential to be the primary infrastructure through which smart city networks are delivered.”
He adds that while the basic elements of a lighting control system vary by manufacturer, key elements include widely distributed sensing capabilities and a communications network. Typically, for outdoor lighting, that communication is wireless.
The sensors can monitor almost anything that can be measured, such as lamp/luminaire status, occupancy/motion, relative humidity, gas temperature, daylight, gases, smoke, radiation and noises such as gunshots. For example, the system could detect a lighting outage, power outage, gas leak or car accident, immediately alerting city officials and improving emergency response times. Manufacturer software may offer a broad range of capabilities, though extended capabilities may require customized software. Additionally, the streetlight could also be used to host wireless signal boosters and networking hubs. Manufacturers are still pioneering capabilities based on customer needs at this early stage of the game.
“The purpose of a smart city is to provide the ability to control and monitor infrastructure, all of which is achievable through intelligent, sensing and programmable LED luminaires installed with a lighting control system,” Smith says.
Philips’ CityTouch is a street lighting management system that links all lighting assets to city infrastructure for software-based sensing and control. This solution has been installed in a number of cities, most notably Los Angeles, which converted 100,000 streetlights.
The “connect” application provides close-to-real-time performance monitoring, remote management and energy measurement. Using this software, users can flexibly adapt light levels and schedule dimming. Energy measurement features include metering per individual light point and verification of energy billing.
The “workflow” application provides data and operations management capabilities. Users gain access to all current and historical information. Features include failure logging and repair process, maintenance workflow planning and continuous status tracking and documentation.
CityTouch is installed by plugging a connector node into a standard socket on top of an existing streetlight (LED or traditional from any manufacturer). Commissioning is automated. The lights communicate via a public mobile communications network. The data flows to a secure Cloud-based solution.
OSRAM currently offers a variety of smart city solutions via its SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions (SLS) service arm, including the OSRAM ENCELIUM Light Management System. The OSRAM ENCELIUM system focuses on smart buildings while exterior lighting control systems are used to collect data from street lighting. This allows cities to network government service administration buildings as well as street lighting. It can be implemented with lighting from any manufacturer. Device communication may be wired or wireless—typically wireless for streetlights and often a mixture for interior lighting control, using the same protocol. Collected data may be hosted by SLS, in a Cloud-based system or on an end-user server.
Intelligence and connectivity: a revolution
As the LED revolution matures, it has launched a second revolution in intelligence and connectivity of lighting and sensors in smart buildings and cities. This technology offers the potential to transform cities into highly efficient, highly responsive organizations that provide a better quality of life.