There are over 300 million street lights globally. Obsolete street lighting can account for more than 40% of the total energy consumed by a city. The case for Smart Street Lighting builds on the energy savings from LED street lights: converting from halogen to basic LED luminaires yields up to 80% in power savings.
Smart street lighting can leverage ubiquitous Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) cellular connectivity to carry sensor data from the individual street lights to a Central Lighting Management System. The Central system will then analyse and act on the sensor data to dim the lights or turn them on/off. Autonomous operation, adaptive lighting and maintenance optimisation are more advanced system capabilities. By connecting every lighting pole, each street light can become an IoT-ready installation platform for wider smart city applications.
NB-IoT is a specification developed by 3GPP, and was standardised as part of 3GPP Release 13. NB-IoT is an efficient, cost-effective technology for a wide range of IoT applications. Globally, there are currently over 100 commercial cellular networks supporting NB-IoT. 3GPP will continue to evolve NB-IoT (and the other key cellular IoT standard LTE-M) as part of the 5G standards, securing their long term status.
Key parts of a Smart Street lighting system
- LED lamps. LEDs are current driven devices that react instantaneously to changes in power input. This allows for dynamic or adaptive lighting. The semiconductor nature of LEDs facilitates electronic control and drives the digital transformation of street lighting.
- A combination of cameras and sensors to detect light-levels and movement.
- Individual lamp controllers to effect on/off/dimming or adaptive lighting. Lamp controllers can also provide operational data and data related to maintenance requirements.
- Lighting pole. With access to power, and a footprint across all urban areas, lighting poles are ideal for mounting components for other smart city applications such as security cameras, environmental sensors, traffic counters or electric vehicle chargers.
- Cellular communication network. Standards-based NB-IoT is ideal for smart street lighting systems due to its power efficiency, wide deployment, and reliability
- Central management system (CMS). The CMS can provide capability beyond basic control options and dimming and adaptive lighting functionalities. For example, it could capture detailed grid information and inventory data, handle ticketing and notification of faults and provide north-bound APIs to enable optimisation of the smart street lighting system.
Benefits of Smart Street lighting
The use of flexible and dynamic dimming controls produce energy savings, along with the associated cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. Light pollution is also reduced. Optimisation of consumption is achieved without compromising the safety of citizens.
Lamp life in the field is increased, and fault-monitoring software can lead to shorter outage times and lower repair and maintenance costs. Generated traffic data can lead to improved architectural planning based on real traffic patterns and insights. By connecting every lighting pole, smart street lights can form the backbone for wider smart city applications. These have the potential to open up new or increased revenue opportunities.
Smart Street Lighting NY Program
On 27 September Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State had replaced more than 286,000 of its streetlights with LED fixtures, surpassing the halfway milestone in the state’s goal to replace at least 500,000 streetlights with LED technology by 2025 under the Smart Street Lighting NY Program. The street lighting initiative, administered by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) is improving lighting quality and neighborhood safety while reducing energy and lighting maintenance costs across the entire state.
Smart Street Lighting, and other IoT applications which can help overcome key urban challenges, are covered in the ‘Connectivity and Networks’ Module of the Zigurat ‘Smart Cities’ Master’s degree. The module focuses on the role of technology in Smart City Projects.
Author: Janet Acheson, Lecturer for Zigurat Master’s in Global Smart City Management, Subject matter expert in the area of cellular technologies