I often hear about IoT being overhyped on what it needs and what it can actually provide. However, in my view, truly there seems to be a large potential in IoT enabled technologies and applications which we will see over upcoming years in the near future. It will gradually proliferate into various segments of our environment through automation and integration of devices with internet and semiconductor devices will be the driver.
Talking about the cost of IoT systems and expecting them to be cheaply available; think about the huge money spent on public infrastructure by the governments and public institutions around the world. Imagine how the use of IoT systems can save a significant portion of that public fund, yet make the public infrastructure more efficient, productive, safe, secure and easily manageable with little effort and effective use of resources.
The story has begun with Los Angeles being the world’s first city to have smart poles for street lighting that will serve dual purpose; smart lighting and smart data coverage with 4G LTE wireless technology. Ericsson has developed 4G LTE small cell technology that can be fitted on the light poles and can host mobile network operator equipment.
It’s a joint effort by Royal Philips (a global leader in lighting) and Ericsson. Royal Philipswill equip their LED light poles with fully integrated 4G LTE wireless technology from Ericsson and deploy them around the streets of LA. One can imagine how productive and efficient this collaborative technology will be. It will connect all light poles, reduce network tower clutter, provide better broadband connectivity and better network performance in dense urban localities.
Leveraging the street light poles for data traffic management will be a boon for IoT in smart cities where the volume of data is expected to grow multi-fold. The smart poles with 4G LTE will support increasing requirement of capacity to handle large data as well as efficient management of the data traffic without signal dropout.
On the other hand, the public lighting infrastructure is being infused with intelligence that can make the overall lighting system ‘smart’ and energy efficient. Also the real estate and infrastructure that’s already in place is now made smart to earn revenue by providing various network services.
The connected smart lighting system can be controlled remotely and managed very efficiently to save energy. The light levels can be adjusted according to the need in different streets from pole to pole. The lighting can be scheduled at times of the day, days of the week, and seasons and so on for different areas of the city. In fact, in the spirit of future IoT, the poles also can have sensors to detect traffic on the road and accordingly determine to keep the lights on or off.
The street lights in LA are already being controlled through a remote light management system. The Royal Philips CityTouch system connects each light point and uses mobile and cloud-based technologies to monitor and control street lights. The chip enabled light fixture in a smart pole can identify any fault in its light and report instantly to the control office through the connected system for the light to be repaired in time. Using this system uninterrupted and better lighting is provided at reduced maintenance cost and energy expense.
The system has a web based visualization tool that accurately monitors energy consumption and status of each light and reports the overall status in charts and diagrams. The report can also be used in planning the overall lighting system for the city. Here is a quick video of the CityTouch connect –
The CityTouch workflow is another web based asset management tool that provides complete visibility about the lighting assets and workflow for efficient decision making. It provides map based navigation to automate operations management. After reviewing appropriate level of details, fault reports can be created, work orders made, and distributed to maintenance crew for timely repair or installation. Here is a quick video on the CityTouch workflow system –
This is a great time to make our world smart. We are yet to see the unknown potential of IoT enabled systems in our overall ecosystem.
Pawan Kumar Fangaria
Founder & President at www.fangarias.com