Here are the elements you need to master as you bring a transformative connected lighting project to life.
Hardware: Connected luminaires are just the beginning. Urban IoT projects often need access to deep expertise in IoT devices as well. These include sensors, cameras, microphones, and navigation equipment.
Software: Smart city initiatives require a comprehensive IoT platform that provides a consistent and scalable base for both pilot projects and initiatives no one's thought of yet. You also need comprehensive control dashboards for managers, and possibly advice on developing the user-facing apps those managers can use to administer the project day to day.
Communications and network infrastructure: According to Gartner, “System integrators and global lighting manufacturers are preferred partners for street light modernization initiatives for city managers; CSPs are named as partners in only 16% of smart city lighting projects since the start of 2016.” A smart city ecosystem needs reliable connectivity and adequate bandwidth to thrive. Look for partners who can advise you on the right mix of cellular, small cell, Wi-Fi, and short-range IoT communications to ensure consistent and smooth communications.
Data storage and analysis: A well-equipped smart city generates a wealth of information that city managers can use to improve quality of life. Sensor data indicating when streets are heavily trafficked and when they aren't can of course lead to more intelligent provision of lighting to certain areas of town – luminaires can dim when no one's around, thus saving money. But there's much more to it than that. Sensor data on air quality can inform public health initiatives. Data on traffic patterns, parking habits, peak congestion hours, and even wind speeds and humidity levels can help drive initiatives that improve quality of life.
But these opportunities are lost if IoT sensors can't report data to repositories that powerful analytical tools can easily access. The upshot: you need to work with data and analytics providers who understand how to handle hundreds of thousands of new information sources so that you can take advantage of them, deriving insights you can put to work.
Power grid and utilities: In many cities, lighting is already delivered in partnership with, or as a service by, utility or grid operators. The municipality's relationships with these operators have typically originated in an era of lower-tech lighting. Those relationships may thus need amending. Working with partners who understand the services that grid operators have provided can be valuable. First, it can help reshape the project's cost structure for the better. Second, it can lead to the proper allocation of responsibilities between power companies and civic offices.
Systems integration: A systems integrator that has experience with your chosen connected lighting apparatus, your IoT platform, your enterprise data repository, and your network providers can help reduce implementation times and shorten time to benefit.