For city planners who may feel overwhelmed by the complexity of smart city implementations, there’s good news: integrating different technologies can deliver multiple benefits, many of which are not achievable any other way. Connected street lighting is uniquely positioned to play an important role here.
Connected street lighting can beautifully illuminate neighborhoods to make them more attractive and feel safer, while at the same time collecting sensor data on everything from temperature and noise levels to traffic patterns on the city streets. But that’s just a beginning. The lighting infrastructure itself, which is already powered and distributed throughout the urban environment, can serve as an integration point for additional technologies.
The strong link between urban mobility and connected lighting deployment offers one example. According to one estimate, there will be over 550 million electric vehicles on the road by the year 2040. Cities can support this switchover from gas-powered vehicles by integrating EV charging stations directly into light poles on the streets.
That gives drivers places to plug in, but where will the electricity come from? Research indicates that if you increase the rate of energy efficiency improvements in buildings from its current 1 percent to just 5 percent, you can completely offset the additional energy demand generated by all these new EVs. And the best and most reliable way to dramatically increase energy efficiency, of course, is by deploying connected LED lighting.
This is only one of many provocative examples of how two seemingly unrelated verticals can generate additional value when deployed together in a smart ecosystem. If you add the example of smart poles, which embed a communications infrastructure for improving wireless capacity and coverage in dense urban environments, then you have already covered the top three priorities of the city leaders who were polled in the SmartCitiesWorld research.
Smart cities need multiple solutions—but they deliver multiple benefits when deployed within an ecosystem where they can work well together.