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Powering the smart cities with intelligent lighting

Discussing the role of lighting in making a smart city

Lighting will play a significant role in the development of smart cities of the future as it pervades every area of an individual’s life–home, work, on the road and in public places. Moving beyond its functional role of illumination, connected LED lighting has the potential to enhance quality of life, transform everyday experiences and services, and ensure sustainability in our ever expanding global cities.

Urban populations are growing rapidly and 60 per cent of the world populations are predicted to be living in cities by 2030 with more than 70 billion light points. “Philips Lighting is helping to pave the way for this massive urban growth by developing a people-centric blueprint for lighting and IoT services in the smart city of the future,” states Harshavardhan Chitale, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Lighting India.

Philips Lighting India envisage there would be 4 key areas of direct application of connected lighting:

Connected streets
Connected LED street lights provide highly energy efficient, quality light with sensor nodes. It could stream data between millions of devices, collect and distribute data and improve city services such as light, traffic, air quality, public safety, parking and other location based services, leveraging state-of-the-art communication technologies.

Interactive public spaces
Scarcity of space will compel cities to extend public spaces underground, with a seamless transition made possible by lighting that mimics natural daylight and makes people feel comfortable. The digital lighting system can send positional data to help drones navigate and deliver items, while responsive light walls display art and foster citizen interaction and creativity.

More personalised living
Lighting will be able to synchronize with everything from your door bell to your television and music and will be fully adjustable to individual preferences. It will pre-empt your needs and complement your wellbeing, energize you, relax you and keep you safe.

With the proliferation of network infrastructure be it Wi-Fi or cellular data in every business, houses, and public place, all buildings and public areas are destined to become smart. Internet of Things (IoT) is taking over across all domains and lighting is not an exception. Street lighting will no longer be an isolated sphere but part of a networked urban infrastructure.

Informing on the role of lighting in making a smart city Shailesh Tokekar, General Manager & Head, Marketing and Retail Lighting, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting says, “With smart and connected lighting solutions, LED luminaires can be connected to a network which further can be centrally controlled using software. This ‘smartification’ will enable illumination of various urban areas – city centers, main roads, residential streets, tunnels, parks, etc, precisely according to the lighting requirements in these areas. They enable demand-driven lighting, dimming the lights at off peak traffic hours leading optimum energy utilisation, reduce CO2 emissions, thus saving energy and reduce lowering municipal electricity costs.”

In a smart city, street lights will fullfil many more functions than mere illumination. For example, they will notify the municipal corporations when the local garbage bins must be emptied, or record a change in traffic volume and communicate with the road traffic controller to diverge traffic accordingly.

Street lighting posts can also serve as data stations with sensors, can monitor parking spaces and communicate information about these, or recharge the batteries of an electric car. Being connected to a single network, the lighting system will have a concrete data on the amount of electricity consumed by each light on a broader level or even how much a phase consumes. This will help in eliminating the problem of electricity theft as the leaks in a particular network can be readily discovered and necessary actions can be taken. As cities grow, a security infrastructure of sensors and cameras will decrease the risk of any threat, accidental or intentional. Such a system can run directly over the centrally managed street lighting grid, making the city a better place to live in.

Smart cities use recent advances in communications and digital technologies, data sharing, analysis and intelligent design to make cities more livable, resilient, economically sound, and sustainable.

“Smart city lighting system changes the concept of management by using the lighting grids. Street lights are a vital part of every city, providing citizens and business with safety and security. Networked street lights are more than mere appliances for artificial lighting. They become nodes in a multi-functional network but what if we could use our street lighting network in a more intelligent way rather than the simple on-off system that currently exists. 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 and optimise operations, and make citizens feel safer and more connected,” explains Sharmila Kumbhat, Director, K-Lite Industries.

Lighting industry as amongst the biggest and the most versatile industry in the world. The trend of market is from simple light to products suiting multiple requirements. Indian customers are more and more concerned about the efficiency of light. Customers are also keen on looking for system solutions and smart lighting, reveals Rhambo Zhang, India Head, Opple.

The vision of smart cities differs for people living in diverse geographical locations. Some of the places are densely populated, whereas some have low infrastructure facilities. Sometimes even the disposition of the local government and private business of investing money to create smart-city initiatives may lack in several cities. “Keeping such factors in mind lighting plays a major role in shaping a smart city,” notes Zhang.

Smart lighting includes smart sensors that can be found in several applications such as utility poles, water lines, buses, traffic lights, etc. “Most of the power consumed from these sensors comes from the wireless links used to transmit data. Thus these developers are working on creating unique and innovative lights which can turn this place into smart cities,” explains Zhnag.

As per Mangesh Khisty, Sr. General Manager and Head, Marketing, Lum BU, Bajaj Electricals Ltd to reduce electrical demand, cities are adopting LED. LEDs have changed the way how we light the world, successfully displacing traditional illumination sources across every part of globe. This transition has kicked off a new phase of LED adoption – the race to connect every light point.

According to Gautam Seth, Joint MD, HPL Electric & Power Ltd, the growing interest in intelligent and smart lighting is expected to change market dynamics with the announcement for the establishment of smart cities, which will increase demand for LED lighting, based on intelligent and connected infrastructure. Further, under the Make in India initiative, 100 per cent foreign investment under the automatic route has been permitted in construction, operation, and maintenance in specified rail infrastructure projects, which is expected to fuel demand for LED products for local consumption.

Moreover, with government’s increased interest in converting existing street lights into LED is expected to increase demand for LEDs in coming years and the deteriorating power situation across the country and limited budget allocation for starting power projects have directed the government’s focus towards energy conservation and efficiency.

Intelligent features of today’s lighting
Lightings are available with intelligent features. Some of the experts will share the intelligent features in today’s lighting.

The introduction of intelligent lighting offers several key benefits to a city. It allows constant monitoring of system status, obtain details of failures in real time, decide as to when, where and how much to switch on or dim, monitoring every unit from wherever one wishes. Basically the intelligent lighting system transforms lighting systems into a new territorial communications network and enables an intelligent support capable of activating a wide range of services to improve quality of life and make cities more intelligent, safe and sustainable. As per Kumbhat the major features are:

  • Energy efficient LED lighting system reduces carbon footprint and long term operation costs
  • Operational integration with real time data allows lighting control as and when required
  • Street disturbances and law and order system monitoring through noise detection, CCTV and community response
  • Traffic flow monitoring and data generation for city planning
  • Air pollution monitoring integrated into the lighting network
  • Extension of WiFI services through the street light network.

“Accurate switching times based on local sunset and sunrise with the aid of photo-sensor or time-scheduled switches, increased flexibility of lighting, data management with the help of an energy consumption report, 24 hour online monitoring system (GIS), increased security with the help of anti-theft alarm are the title intelligent features of today’s lighting system,” states Tokekar.
Street light cloud-based control systems also offer individual luminaire level control as per the light, time of the day, and location based longitude and latitude. Remote controlled based operation facilitates ease of maintenance while real time energy metering and report generation help to analyse and decide optimum electricity usage.

These systems are pre-programmed; as soon as an error occurs or the system detects an unusual pattern, it automatically alerts the staff. This creates a new level of transparency concerning maintenance of street lighting grid. In order to identify defective lights, the city will no longer be dependent upon nightly inspection trips and complaints from citizens. The system will reveal the status of the connected city lighting right at its hub. “Wipro Lighting’s smart and connected lighting solutions provide for energy savings with reduced carbon emissions,” claims Tokekar.

In this age of smart connected lighting system, lighting can connect and interact seamlessly with a building’s Ethernet or wireless network, allowing remote monitoring and operation through a network of smart controls, devices as well as apps. Lights can be equipped with sensor nodes that are capable of conveying information like room occupancy, temperature and humidity, thus operating automatically basis the presence of people at a particular place. This has paved the way for a fully digitally lit world with connected LED lighting systems. “Our personal wireless lighting system – Philips Hue is one such example. It allows users to personalise and control home lighting using just their smartphone or tablet. Similarly, connected LED lighting at offices can significantly enhance the energy efficiency of a building by regulating facilities such as lighting, heating, cooling, and meeting room availability according to its occupancy levels,” says Chitale.

As per Zhang there are several trends going on in the lighting industry these days, some are:
Wireless control: These LED lights come in enough variants and with a USP of ‘No Wires’. Lights with ‘No Wires’ is the latest trend these days. Users can now control these smart lights via a tablet or a smart phone.

Smart connectivity: Everything from applications to gadgets is well connected via internet in today’s world. The internet of things is basically used to describe activities that are controlled especially by your computer or the smart phone. Lights that are controlled especially by the web are the new entrants in the industry.

Inbuilt sources: LED lights come with irreplaceable light sources. LED light sources need not be replaced quite often. Manufacturers nowadays work on creating technologies that are inbuilt and that don’t require any lamps or moulds that can cover them. These are easily available and come in various sizes and styles.

Khisty believes intelligent lighting is the new technology in which every company is trying their hands to make:
Sensors control: Various sensors like motion sensors are used today in offices where light get automatically shut down when it is not required.

Dimming: Dimming of luminaires is in its starting phase, where outdoor diming option based on live traffic is needs to be researched where Bajaj is working and doing research as streetlight consume hell lot of energy, and dimming them say in midnight when your traffic density is very low can save a lot for municipal corporation.

M-M communication: Streetlights in the particular area form mesh network, where every streetlight talk to each other and remotely we can control the streetlight which includes default detection, life etc.

Khisty believes that shift from analog to digital, low cost supporting technologies, ubiquitous install base are the three factors which has revolutionised the era of intelligent lighting.
LED lighting is technology adoptions that have witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. LEDs are gaining more prominence as compared to CFLs, especially in urban regions of India on account of their affordability and awareness. Affordable cost of LEDs and the ease of availability of such technology make it a more attractive option. Further, unlike CFLs, LEDs do not contain harmful substances like mercury, making its end-of life disposal easy and environment-friendly. LED has higher brightness level than same wattage of other lighting technologies. It has longer burning hours, is more energy efficient due to dimmable feature, has higher power factor.

“Intelligence comes while interfaced with sensors like microwave sensor, ambient light sensors, PIR sensors, occupancy sensor or astronomical clock. These sensors help in changing brightness level dynamically as required. We can say ‘Lit up when required’. Depending upon traffic movement/ambient light level, intelligent lights switches to higher brightness/low brightness or completely powered off. Remarkable amount of power can be saved. Significant savings in power allow intelligent LED based lights to be clubbed with solar solutions also. Intelligent lights are integrated with communications like power line communication and low power radio communication which makes more manageable remotely. In India RF is more in use compared to other communication technologies. Lights can raise notifications when any technical fault occurs in it. The Indian LED lighting market is expected to reach Rs 31,010 crore in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 62 per cent between 2016 and 2020,” says Seth.

Are we ready?
Philips Lighting is already putting in place several building blocks that will enable the smart cities of tomorrow, with its wide range of connected lighting systems and services for homes, offices and public lighting.

It’s Citytouch street lighting solutions are currently used in more than 250 cities in 31 countries and some key installations are in London (UK), Surakarta (Indonesia), Los Angeles (USA), Greater Toronto (Canada) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The company recently announced one of the largest connected street lighting systems in Jakarta with its CityTouch system monitoring and managing nearly 90,000 street lights. Philips Lighting also installed a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connected lighting system that transformed Madrid’s landmark office skyscraper Torre Europe into a smart office.

Opple Lighting has launched its set of innovative lights that fit the smart cities. Opple has also pioneered revolutionary products with features like Flicker free light to avoid headache, migraine, dizziness, impaired intellectual and visual performance and anti-glare luminaire design to reduce the effect of glare. The brand has also worked on the multi-shadow while preserving high optical efficiency, high illumination uniformity and low unified glare rating. UV LED does not emit UV, NO mercury which makes products friendly to the environment.

HPL Electric & Power recently signed an agreement for Bhopal smart city project for automation of LED lighting solutions as part of consortium with Bharti Infratel and Ericsson. Smart city project has an excellent potential. There are lot of possibility for it to do fine business by collaborating with government’s initiative. Approximately the order value is Rs70 crore. The company has also developed a street lighting system that helps in saving manpower through automatic settings for sunset and sunrise timings and remote energy metering and dimming of such lights during off-peak hours to save energy. It has a dedicated R&D team for lighting system.

With over a decade of experience in standalone and connected lighting control system installations, Wipro Lighting provides smart, intelligent and connected lighting solutions for smart city requirements and applications. This is backed by 34 branch offices and a dedicated service and support network Pan India.

Wipro offers a range of energy efficient lighting solutions and control systems and components for smart lighting applications in indoor and outdoor facilities. With the emergence of big data, the internet of things and connected digital lighting, it is going to bring much more intelligent functionality into our lighting systems. Hence, this trend will play an important role in making cities more livable, enjoyable and safer, at the same time making it more economically sustainable.

K-Lite has stepped into the smart city domain with a pilot project to simulate the various functions involved through a lighting pole combined with smart lighting and allied sensors such as vehicle movement sensor, pollution monitoring etc. The company has an additional strength to make every type of poles and also custom-built poles to suit the specific requirement and for installing all sensors and signages over and above the lighting fixtures. In the smart city domain K-Lite’s scope will be limited to the specialised poles and luminaires.

Till now, converting night into day and illuminating the dark has been the main task of streetlights, in this new era; Bajaj’s intelligent streetlights are fulfilling many more functions. With its exclusive tie up with Cisco a major player in the smart city Bajaj is giving greater options to its clients. Also recently along with WISeKey International Holding Ltd, the company announced the intention to connect approximately 100 million consumer and industrial products to secure cloud with focus on lighting in the first phase- WISeLight IoT Platform. “This technology will help in creating digital identities of the SKUs that Bajaj Electricals has market leadership in the Lighting segment in India. Also it will enable a digitally certified eco-system for connected objects,” claims Khisty.

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