Cloud technology enables smart lighting for smart cities

With city lighting accounting for 15% of the city’s electricity consumption, ambitious energy efficiency targets are driving smart cities to implement cost-saving strategies for their street lighting systems. Cloud-enabled smart city lighting application can help cities to reduce energy by at least 30%, using traffic volume monitoring systems combined with cloud-based storage and management applications.

Streetlights are playing a key role in the development of today’s smart cities. Using digital networks and embedded sensors, smart streetlights can collect, analyse, transform and transmit information that helps authorities monitor and respond to different circumstances, from traffic and air quality to crowds, noise and significant events, such as accidents.

Increasing focus on urbanization is putting pressure on cities to balance the challenge of resource constraints against environmental sustainability concerns. Smart lighting helps cities save energy, lower costs, reduce maintenance—all while better serving citizens, reducing energy use and CO2 emissions. However, these solutions should facilitate a non-intrusive approach to the street infrastructure while remaining affordable in terms of expenditure on equipment and operations. They also need to provide flexibility to allow the system to evolve with the smart city and its citizens.

Recent developments in street lightning intensity, based on the level of traffic, are addressing these environmental issues. Schréder, a market leader in dynamic lighting systems, and Swiss company SixSq have announced a partnership that is helping cities to reduce energy by 30%, using traffic volume monitoring systems combined with cloud storage and management applications.

Smart lighting

The solution, called Volumlight, uses a traffic camera, the cloud-in-a-box Nuvlabox Mini from SixSq and the Owlet lighting management system from Schréder. These work together to command the level of light based on real-time traffic measurements. The algorithm running in the smart lights application, deployed in the NuvlaBox, analyses the stream of traffic measurements to issue commands to the Owlet system, which then commands the appropriate group of streetlights.

The NuvlaBox and its cloud based remote management platform provide operators of smart street lighting systems with a flexible and fully-managed solution, including a unified dashboard.  “Field measurements by Schréder have shown consistent savings of 30%-50% when using our solution, compared with traditional schedule-based lighting. This level of saving is not only significant but can pave the way to meeting the needs of many urban and rural environments regarding energy reduction targets, as it is delivered in an affordable, secure and non-intrusive way” said Marc-Elian Bégin, CEO of SixSq.

Field measurements

As shown in the graph above, the smart light user interface provides operators with insights into the behaviour of the system. Raw data is processed inside the smart light application to produce aggregated information about the number of cars passing per hour, shown in blue in the above figure. Based on simple configuration parameters, the application running inside the NuvlaBoxÒ then issues commands to the Owlet system, which in turn regulates the light intensity of a pre-determined group of lighting units. The diagram shows that peaks in light follow the heaviest periods of traffic.

This is such a great example of the use of what is being referred to as edge computing, the NuvlaBoxÒ acting as an edge device. It is nice to see how technology can improve the society that we live in.

Note: NuvlaBox is a registered trademark of SixSq and Volumlight is a registered trademark of Schréder


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