Craig DiLouie, LC, CLCP recently had the opportunity to interview Susanne Seitinger, PhD, Philips Lighting, Professional Systems for an article about smart cities for Electrical Contractor Magazine.
DiLouie: What is the concept of the smart city?
Seitinger: A Smart City should reinforce the best of what a city can offer to the people who want to live there. That means, among other things, maintaining a high quality of life in urban environments as they become ever denser and busier.
Smart Cities use recent advances in communications and digital technologies, data sharing and analysis, and connected scalable and opensystems to make cities more livable, resilient, economically sound, and sustainable.
DiLouie: What are the basic capabilities and benefits?
Seitinger: Smart sensors and embedded devices—from street lights to power meters to traffic signals and beyond—work together with an open, connected infrastructure to create a distributed layer of intelligence that can save energy, streamline operations. Beyond these functional benefits cities are starting to focus on quality of life topics like safe and available public transit which can be made more accessible by near-real-time information for citizens.
DiLouie: Any documented outcomes based on demonstration projects?
Seitinger: Climate Group’s lightsavers trial evaluated pilots in 12 major cities. Among 15 trials, more than 500 lights and 27 products yielded:
• 50-70% energy savings
• That number jumps to 80% when paired with smart controls.
DiLouie: How do lighting and controls serve as the backbone of the smart city?
Seitinger: Public lighting plays a unique role in Smart Cities. Because it’s already installed where people live, work, play, and travel, it can serve as the gateway for information and backbone for a common services management infrastructure.
Public lighting plays a unique role, because it transforms the visual appearance of places, and can make urban areas accessible and safe at night. More than other city services, public lighting is closely interwoven with a place’s identity and character.
DiLouie: What are the basic elements of the lighting control system?
Seitinger: Lighting is one of the most important services in the Smart City because it is ubiquitous and distributed and thus uniquely positioned to leverage smart city technologies. We are seeing a paradigm shift in outdoor lighting control towards remote street lighting management via integrated hardware and software platforms. These platforms need flexible, well-defined interfaces to share data, continuously optimize lighting schedules to achieve new levels of efficiency, enhance the effectiveness of city operations and empower citizens with better services.
Philips Lighting supports Smart City initiatives with the world’s most complete portfolio of LED luminaires, controls, software management platforms, apps and services. By extending lighting into the Internet of Things we are unlocking even more value for our customers and partners through capabilities and services that go beyond illumination.
DiLouie: Can you tell us about Philips’s solution?
Seitinger: Philips CityTouch is an end-to-end street lighting management system that links all the lighting assets in your infrastructure, creating new ways to save money, keep citizens safe, and improve operational efficiency CityTouch offers two web-based applications:
1. CityTouch connect application: Remote lighting management software application that offers performance monitoring, remote management, and energy measurement. Monitoring provides close to real-time status, eliminating the need for any manual scouting, automatic fault notification, and verification of service level agreements. With remote management, you can flexibly adapt light levels and use dimming calendars to perform light planning. Energy measurement features include metering per individual light point and verification of energy billing.
2. CityTouch workflow application: Street lighting asset and workflow management offering data management and operations management. Offers quick access to all current and historical information, and increased transparency, new insights, and improved decision-making based on this information. Operations management features include failure logging and repair process, maintenance workflow planning, and continuous status tracking and documentation. Mobile tools support installers in the field.
Installation consists of simply plugging a lightweight CityTouch connector node into a standard socket on top of an existing street light. The connector node works with street lights from any manufacturer, both LED and conventional – a key consideration for any city with a diversity of street lighting assets. Commissioning is automatic. As soon as a connector node is installed, it starts transmitting location and operational information via the city’s mobile network.
DiLouie: How do devices communicate and manage the flow of data?
Seitinger: A remote lighting management tool controls your luminaires, communicating with them via your public mobile communications network.
DiLouie: Where does the data go?
Seitinger: The data goes to a cloud-based solution which offers a secure, scalable, and cost-effective option.
DiLouie: Who operates the system and views the data, and how?
Seitinger: Wherever the Smart City is located any operator whether that be a municipality, facility manager, contractor, etc. can manage the system and view the data by remote monitoring from any location.
DiLouie: What are some examples of successful installations?
Seitinger: Philips City Touch in Buenos Aires:
• Replacing 91,000 streetlights with LED over 3 years to cut the city’s energy use by 50%
• Lower maintenance costs – LEDs last 5x longer
• Operational Efficiencies – 80% response rate in 2014 vs. 1% in 2009
• Effective energy use: additional energy savings of up to 15% during peak events
• Smart City integration by connecting CityTouch and SAP Hana, the existing asset management platform of Buenos Aires, to improve the efficiency of work and “breaking the silos” of city departments
Philips City Touch in Los Angeles:
• With Philips CityTouch, Los Angeles remotely manages more than 100,000 street lights to create a more livable city
• Philips CityTouch was selected after piloting and careful consideration of several different manufacturers
• The differentiating capabilities that determined Los Angeles’s decision included remote monitoring, automatic notification of outages and other events, easy installation and simple commissioning, accurate lighting asset information, integration with the bureau’s existing management systems, and futureproofing through software as a service delivery
• According to Ed Ebrahimian, Director, Bureau of Street Lighting, City of Los Angeles:
o “Streetlights play a major role for people at night, whether they’re walking their dog, driving, conducting business or visiting a restaurant. Good lighting makes people feel a lot safer, so it has become a very important aspect of the city’s infrastructure.”
o “Remote monitoring overall and CityTouch specifically plays a big role in our delivery of services, which is keeping the lights on.”
o “With this technology, it’s just so headache-free. We just install it and move on.”
o “I call CityTouch priceless, because if we can save one life by finding out if a light is out and fixing it right away, we’ve done our job.”
• Ebrahimian has already piloted the use of CityTouch to remotely manage event-specific lighting in parks and other locations. He believes that CityTouch may be able to play a role in reducing accident and crime rates.
• The lighting infrastructure may be able to integrate with emergency systems, and may even be able to serve as a platform for deploying environmental and earthquake sensors throughout the city.
• CityTouch is already helping Los Angeles fulfill its mission of becoming a more livable city. By keeping the lights on, citizens feel more comfortable and safe on the streets at night, and this has a positive effect on the city’s quality of life and its economic vitality.
DiLouie: A smart city goes far beyond LED lighting and centralized control. Please identify as many capabilities as possible that can be realized with a citywide lighting and sensor network.
Seitinger: Public lighting can play a unique role in making the Smart City a reality. Street lights, luminaires, light poles, and other lighting assets are everywhere. With LED and communications retrofits and new installations, a city’s lighting infrastructure can take advantage of and even enhance the powerful communications networks available today. The light pole itself can become a point of intelligence and communications, offering a convenient integration point for wireless signal boosters, smart sensors of all kinds, and networking hubs.
DiLouie: What sensors are required?
Seitinger: Connector nodes with plug-and-play activation which enables you to retrofit your street lights for remote management by CityTouch software.
DiLouie: At what point is custom software required, and who provides that?
Seitinger: Philips Lighting provides configurable software meaning we offer a system and solutions that can be configured according to customers’ particular needs. This approach is more efficient and more cost effective for customers than customized software which requires significant time and resources to develop.
DiLouie: How do electrical contractors play in this space?
Seitinger: Contractors play an important role, because the system that we offer looks at the full end to end process. It includes installation, commissioning, execution and maintenance, etc. As the system offers not only cloud based management where all parties can access the same and always up to date data to improve efficient and transparent daily operations, it ensures also that the installation can be done quickly and smoothly as well as transparently tracked. Moreover, energy consumption can easily be verified and accurately tracked. Last but not least with installers or workers in the field maintaining, repairing, and servicing the lighting assets, work becomes much easier and smoother because information, jobs and tasks can be shared and updated accurately between operator, scheduler / installer and worker in the field
DiLouie: What approach should system planners (e.g., electrical engineers) take to design an appropriate system for their city?
Seitinger: A well-designed Smart City infrastructure can enhance services and business opportunities, improve safety, and boost collaboration between the city, its citizens, and businesses and continue to do so for decades to come. To achieve this, decision-makers should make sure the following questions can be answered satisfactorily:
• Is it scalable?
• Is suitable connectivity available?
• Are the right IT staff available?
• Is it sufficiently secure?
• Can all the elements be integrated successfully?
• Is it accessible?
DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about lighting and controls for smart cities, what would it be?
Seitinger: Smart sensors and embedded devices—from street lights to power meters to traffic signals and beyond—work together with an open, connected infrastructure to create a distributed layer of intelligence that can save energy, streamline operations, and improve the overall safety and quality of life for citizens.
DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?
Seitinger: Smart Cities is a vision of the future, but it’s also a reality today. Philips Lighting supports Smart Cities with the world’s most complete portfolio of LED luminaires, controls, software management platforms, apps, and services.