Street Lighting 

How mobile operators can help cities manage and control their streetlights and use them to provide new smart city services 

treet lighting is a core piece of urban and rural infrastructure. Lighting helps to create a safe environment for both pedestrians and drivers. Many streetlights around the world are now being updated to LED lighting, which uses less energy and is more reliable than traditional sodium lamps, significantly reducing the cost of keeping streets illuminated. 

It is now cost effective to add communications technology to streetlamps at the same time as LED upgrades take place. Mobile operators’ Internet of Things (IoT) solutions can provide low cost, ubiquitous coverage across a city, and are designed specifically to connect city services and sensors, including streetlights. This connectivity enables the lights to be remotely monitored and controlled. Moreover, additional sensors can be added to the lighting infrastructure, offering a cost effective way of creating a citywide IoT sensor network and enabling the deployment of more smart services. As they already have wireless networks and associated systems in place, mobile operators make ideal partners for municipalities looking to upgrade their streetlights or introduce other smart city services. Mobile operators can help public agencies make their services more efficient, obtain intelligence from raw data and ultimately improve the quality of life of their citizens. Harnessing their existing local assets, mobile operators can help to build a sustainable smart city that offers new services and new opportunities. 

 

IoT-enabled street lights 

Streetlights have long been a major cost for local government. Although they offer immediate benefits in terms of street safety, the cost of running thousands of streetlights for many hours of the day adds up. Historically, energy companies would charge for the electricity used by streetlights through an unmetered connection, meaning that governments just paid a flat fee. However, with the move to more dynamic energy supply, electric power for streetlights is now often metered, meaning that cities’ lighting costs have generally risen. New technologies allow these costs to be reduced or controlled. By replacing traditional sodium lamps with energy efficient LED lamps, running costs can be cut by up to 60%, as well as providing a brighter street environment. These new bulbs also last much longer than traditional bulbs, reducing maintenance costs significantly. Streetlight provision and maintenance is a large part of any municipality’s budget, and the introduction of LED technologies can help free up funds for other programmes. 

 However, replacing the lighting technology is only half the story. If the new street lamps are connected to a mobile network, they can be controlled remotely as an IoT device – they can be dimmed outside of peak hours, turned on or off as needed and faults identified quickly. These decisions can be made in real-time, either by a central control centre or on the device itself. This means that both maintenance costs and energy costs can be reduced significantly: Machina Research estimates that dimming lights when they are not needed can generate an additional 20% cost saving (on top of the savings from the installation of LED bulbs).  

Of course, the connectivity used by street lights needs to be as cost effective as possible to maximise the savings. Mobile networks are well suited to connecting lights – they already have ubiquitous coverage across urban and rural areas, meaning no additional infrastructure needs to be installed. They offer a good quality of service, and are underpinned by mobile operators’ customer support capabilities, which can resolve any issues. They also offer secured bandwidth in licenced spectrum, meaning flexibility is assured and there is no risk of interference from other services. Finally, it is straightforward to add mobile communications technology to the lighting unit itself – standard low-cost communications components can be integrated into the streetlamp using standardised connectors from a number of different manufacturers.  

Now well established, IoT-enabled lighting is often used to light up major landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building, in different colours every night. Lighting is increasingly being mounted directly onto bridges, buildings and stadiums to turn them into new city highlights. Even the Niagara Falls is now impressively lit up in multiple colour combinations at night by new IoT-enabled lighting techniques. These high profile feature lighting systems rely on a robust communications network to ensure that lamp control and colour changes can be conducted remotely. stadiums to turn them into new city highlights. Even the Niagara Falls is now impressively lit up in multiple colour combinations at night by new IoT-enabled lighting techniques. These high profile feature lighting systems rely on a robust communications network to ensure that lamp control and colour ch 

 

Sustainable, connected street lighting 

Urban street lights are densely-clustered, making it cost-effective to upgrade lighting with LED and connectivity. However, rural areas have a much lower density of street lighting, which can be more expensive to replace and maintain. The cost of connectivity and maintenance across all areas can be minimised by using new low power wide area Mobile IoT technologies from mobile operators. These new technologies, which are designed to offer low cost, wide area network coverage, are outlined in the next section.  

Street Lighting To serve people living in remote communities in developing countries that lack reliable access to mains electricity, cellular-connected, solar-powered street lights are coming on to the market. Many governments in the developing world are exploring the use of connected solar-powered street lights as they can be run at very low cost. As the cost of installing an electricity grid for street lighting is very high, solar streetlights can be the right economic option in the right location. The solar power also provides enough electricity to enable connectivity through mobile and Mobile IoT networks, meaning that the lights’ performance can be monitored and controlled remotely, if needed. The largest markets for solar streetlights are China and India, with African countries also investing heavily in solar streetlights, supported by World Bank initiatives. Use of solar-powered lighting is also growing quickly in the UK and Germany, driven by the significant cost savings these lights generate in hard to reach areas. 

 

CASE STUDY:  

Telenor & Leading Light Leading Light has partnered with Telenor Connexion to develop a connected lighting solution, called ActiveLights IQ. Municipalities, utilities and other companies use Leading Light’s energy efficient solutions to help achieve environmental goals and create a safe environment. By partnering with Telenor Connexion, the IoT arm of the Telenor Group, Leading Light is providing an end-to-end service encompassing everything from the solution design to operations.  

 Telenor Connexion has worked together with Leading Light to optimise the hardware design, information management and the end user experience. This has helped reduce development time and provide a solid foundation for new services. The product has so far been installed in ten cities across Sweden. ActiveLights IQ can be equipped with various sensors to enable smart services, such as traffic measurement, presence detection, light control, temperature and power consumption. The system can work offline, as well as online through 3G connectivity. Leading Light’s energy efficient solution, and the environmental goals it supports, are aligned with one of Telenor Connexion’s core values: sustainability. By harnessing smart technology, sustainable solutions can be developed with minimal impact on the environment. GSMA SMArt CitieS Guide: Street Lighting GSMA SMArt CitieS Guide: Street Lighting  

 P.5 ActiveLights IQ can be equipped with various sensors to enable smart services, such as traffic measurement, presence detection, light control, temperature and power consumption. The system can work offline, as well as online through 3G connectivity ” ” 

 Streetlights as multisensory gateways 

 Smart streetlights can support a range of sensors and services using the power and communications connections available on each light pole. As light poles are located throughout a city, they are the ideal hosts for a wide array of sensors. Sensors are critical to the functioning of a smart city. They can collect a wide range of data from across an urban area, much of which is relevant to the planning, utilisation and operation of city services. 

Smart streetlights can support a range of sensors and services using the power and communications connections available on each light pole. As light poles are located throughout a city, they are the ideal hosts for a wide array of sensors. Sensors are critical to the functioning of a smart city. They can collect a wide range of data from across an urban area, much of which is relevant to the planning, utilization, and operation of city services. 

Some of the use cases for sensors on light poles are outlined below: 

MoniToring Air qUAliTY  

A critical environmental factor that affects citizens’ wellbeing, air quality can change rapidly and thus needs extensive, real-time monitoring. Air quality monitoring is evolving from relying solely on large industrial units, which are expensive and are spread judiciously throughout a city, to a more blended approach combining local, low cost IoT sensors calibrated alongside industrial sensors, to give accurate air quality readings at many points throughout a city. These new flexible sensors also capture more detailed data from the road network across a city, highlighting when pollutants reach dangerous levels at precise locations. Light poles provide a natural host for the new generation of small air quality sensors. They can be placed alongside roadways, and can be spread uniformly throughout a city. As the sensor can draw power from the light pole and use the communications equipment embedded in the smart street light, implementation of these air quality sensors can cost much less than finding and allocating dedicated sites to air quality measuring equipment. 

 MoniToring TrAffiC AnD pEDESTriAnS  

Most light poles line roads, and so offer a natural place to mount sensors monitoring traffic. These sensors can easily count the number of vehicles, pedestrians and cycles passing underneath a streetlight and the resulting data can be tied to air quality measurements to provide greater analysis. Camera-based systems, infrared counters 

CASE STUDY: AT&T and GE partner for smart street lighting deployments 

AT&T and Current, powered by GE, are working together to connect cities across the United States and Mexico to the Internet of Things (IoT). Together, the companies will unlock a realm of possibilities to improve the way cities operate, communicate and meet the needs of citizens. 

 Since launching its Smart Cities organization in 2015, AT&T has been using its resources and IoT expertise to create impactful solutions for cities. By introducing GE’s Predix-powered IoT platform, AT&T can use outdoor LED lighting in a city to create a digital infrastructure that helps address issues like traffic flow and parking optimization, gunshot detection on city streets, air quality monitoring and weather emergency alerts. “Intelligent lighting plays a huge role in a smart city,” said Chris Penrose, president, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “Our collaboration with Current will enable us to use a city’s existing lighting infrastructure to more securely connect sensor-enabled networks. This will put them on the path to becoming a smarter, more sustainable city.” Current recently announced a deal with the City of San Diego to upgrade thousands of the city’s outdoor light fixtures to sensor-enabled LED technology, making it the world’s largest smart city IoT platform. AT&T will act as the data carrier and provide highly secure connectivity for the San Diego deployment, which is expected to save the city approximately $2.4 million in annual energy costs. 

 “ Our collaboration with Current will enable us to use a city’s existing lighting infrastructure to more securely connect sensor-enabled networks. This will put them on the path to becoming a smarter, more sustainable city. Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T ”  

or microphones, which can pick up and analyse traffic and ambient noise in some detail, can all be used to monitor traffic volume. Analysing the big data captured by multiple sensor sets enables new services to be deployed. For example, the volume of traffic, combined with local temperature data, can be used to pinpoint routes for gritting trucks during freezing weather, while the number of pedestrians passing a light pole can be used to decide on the best locations for pedestrian crossings, bus stops and public transport routes.

PArking SYSTEMS  

Parking management is another service that can be hosted from connected lighting poles. Sensors or cameras can effectively identify vacant parking spots on the street below and inform the control centre, which can then direct a vehicle to the vacant spot. The same technology can be used to bill drivers for the length of time their vehicle occupies a space, highlight unlawful parking or identify abandoned vehicles. This technology is particularly useful for the effective management of large parking lots, such as those in shopping malls or airports. Lights can also be dimmed out of opening hours to cut the cost of lighting such large areas.  

CCTV/SECUriTY 

 As well as creating safer environments by lighting dark routes, connected streetlights can support additional safety features that can both save money for the city and provide peace of mind for citizens. Connected light poles can host CCTV cameras and motion sensors to monitor the street environment. If a city decides to dim lights to save money, these motion sensors can be used to turn the light back up to full brightness if anyone is in the vicinity. These simple tools can create a safe environment, while potentially creating cost savings for city planners.  

SMAll CEll bASE STATionS  

There is a growing trend towards using light poles to host small cell base stations to meet consumers’ growing bandwidth requirements and to support the 5G networks of the future. Small cells offer the same functions as a traditional, larger cell, but the technology can now offer a better consumer experience in dense urban areas: A dense network of small base stations is generally better suited to meeting users’ bandwidth requirements than a traditional macro network. The small cell base station equipment is small enough to fit on the street light or pole. Embedding these small cells into streetlights and other street furniture keeps the visual clutter on the street to a minimum whilst opening up a new revenue stream for the street light owner. It also means that cities can improve the network coverage and bandwidth available to their citizens and sensors in densely populated areas.  

STREETLIGHT USE CASES rETAil  

Retail centres, supermarkets, shopping malls and associated parking lots need smart street and outdoor lighting. Whether they be outdoors, underground or multi-storey, shopping mall and supermarket car parks are often large areas in which connected lighting can support safety, security and parking management. The cost of running lighting across a large parking lot can be high, especially if the lights need to be kept on outside of store opening hours to provide safety and security for staff and local residents. Installing smart lighting enables the retail site manager to reduce its maintenance and management costs for lighting, whilst also improving the customer experience through accurate highlighting of empty parking spaces, improved security across the site and the ability to use lighting to guide customers to points across the retail park. A smart lighting system can also be used for feature lighting of buildings and other amenities, such as fountains, outdoor eating areas and passageways lit and managed in a cost-effective, but customer-friendly way.  

rUrAl  

Rural areas have a low density of street lighting, making it expensive to maintain each individual light. These features can make the business case for connecting rural streetlights very strong, as connectivity can significantly reduce the operating and maintenance costs associated with remote, hard-to-access street lighting. Moreover, the use of motion detectors means that even lights that are in the most remote location can be operated in a much more cost-effective manner. New Mobile IoT technologies from mobile operators are well suited to connecting these remote street lights, creating a safer, more secure rural road network, and giving the municipality more information about where best to locate new lights based on road and pedestrian traffic in the vicinity.  

inDUSTriAl  

Industrial zones and industrial parks require lighting that is reliable, continuously available and able to meet the specific requirements of the on-site industrial activities. Roads to and from industrial zones also need to be well lit to ensure safety when large trucks and vans are coming and going throughout the day. Connectivity allows for industrial lights to be managed continually. Industrial site owners are able to adjust the brightness of lighting based on activities through the day, and safety can be improved by ensuring hazardous areas are well lit and use sophisticated fault detection systems that can alert managers of imminent failures and enable timely maintenance.  

rESiDEnTiAl  

New LED lights are significantly brighter than the previous generations of sodium lamps, and some residents complain that the brightness of nearby lights shining into their homes is interfering with their sleep. Smart streetlights can be remotely programmed to be dimmed during off-peak hours. This removes any issues that local residents might have with bright lights, whilst retaining street safety during peak hours. The use of motion detectors also means that street safety can be maintained outside of peak hours, as people passing by during the night will still benefit from a bright street environment. Moreover, sensors attached to smart light poles in residential areas can help to improve the quality of life of local residents, by highlighting issues with air quality, traffic management or noise pollution that can be dealt with by the local government directly.  

TrAnSporT nETworkS  

National road networks are critical infrastructure that need to be lit in order to improve safety, especially on busy stretches and at junctions. However, lighting at these sites is often difficult to access, being located in central reservations or across busy junctions. The maintenance cost of this lighting is particularly high, making a strong financial case for an upgrade to connected LED lighting. As well as creating a brighter, safer road environment, these lights can be remotely dimmed outside of peak hours. Moreover, they can alert transport engineers to potential faults before they occur, meaning the maintenance of these lights can be properly planned in advance, avoiding costly road closures that may otherwise be necessary. Connected street lights can also be equipped with air quality sensors to monitor pollution, cameras to monitor traffic and sensors to count the volume of traffic through the day, giving transport and environmental planners accurate data they can use to improve their planning activities. 

CASE STUDY:  

Vodafone & Philips Vodafone is a global IoT managed connectivity partner for Philips Lighting, the global leader in street lighting. Together, the two companies enable city authorities worldwide to implement smart street lighting systems that can be connected wirelessly, saving energy and making maintenance easier and more efficient.  

The Philips CityTouch street lighting management system uses Vodafone’s M2M network to connect individual light points. Each connected street lamp contains a Vodafone M2M SIM. City authorities can then monitor and manage lighting through a user-friendly and flexible system, while engineers are able to check performance, identify faults and control the lighting remotely. The joint offering is designed to enable city authorities to roll out infrastructure that is easily scalable, and will be able to support other smart city applications in future.   

“City authorities can then monitor and manage lighting through a user-friendly and flexible system, while engineers are able to check performance, identify faults and control the lighting remotely ” ”  

The technologies mobile operators use to provide connected lighting  

Mobile operators and their partner ecosystems are a key resource for cities looking to deploy smart street lighting services. They are able to: Ô Connect multiple sensor types through a single, consistent network designed for IoT sensors, Ô Combine multiple data sources from multiple sensors to perform predictive analysis using their data management platforms, Ô Directly manage IoT assets and sensors at scale around a city without the need for any additional infrastructure. The diagram below shows the primary mobile operator and partner capabilities for smart street lighting.  

Putting a smart street lighting service into action  

To implement a connected street light service effectively, the street light provider needs to understand the financial benefits of integrated mobile connectivity and LED lighting, in addition to the maintenance and control benefits from connected smart street lighting. Mobile connected streetlights lower running and maintenance costs by a significant magnitude, while providing much greater flexibility. Through data analytics, mobile operators can also improve existing services and generate new revenue streams using the data collected by sensors hosted throughout a city, making mobile operators a strong partner for cities deploying connected streetlights.  

IoT-enabled street lighting is a core part of any smart city strategy, offering benefits to both the city and its citizens. To maximise these benefits, the city should consider what other services, sensors and safety features it may want to deploy in future before beginning any smart street lighting programme. Retrofitting sensors to light poles later is an expensive move. By being clear about the data that the city wants to collect to solve the challenges that it faces, a smart lighting implementation can be planned effectively, and bring major benefits to the city  

Urban and rural areas may require different approaches, and solar street lighting may be appropriate in some locations. Different locations will have different profiles, which will dictate how streetlights are deployed and the types of service the city will need to support (see graphic) 

If a municipality and its partners focus on the needs of the local community, they can determine the appropriate mix of lights, sensors and services. Different areas of the city will need different solutions, with some areas focused more on the safety benefits of smart street lighting, and other areas on the ability to dynamically control lighting. Industrial zones will need continuous lighting to support shift work and despatch centres, while transport networks can benefit from the low maintenance requirements of connected streetlights. Moreover, residential areas will prioritise a safe environment, enabled by flexible, bright lighting with low running costs. Using the street lighting as a sensor ‘hub’ enables a range of services that can improve the operation and attractiveness of a city across all of these use cases and urban districts.