Smart cities are happening and they will transform exterior lighting companies into flexible, high technology electronics suppliers.
That’s the view of Fadi Shanaah, general manager of Schreder’s operations in the Middle East. He believes that, like the rapid adoption of LEDs, smart cities will become a reality faster than people expect.
‘How fast depends on the region. We’re lucky that the UAE has made big steps towards adopting the technology. Dubai, for instance, is moving quickly thanks to the backing of Sheikh Mohammad and there are people now who are driving it. At the moment it’s at the high-level stage and what’s missing is the detail. But in the coming months and years you’ll start to see those high-level concepts translated into useful technologies that will benefit you and me.’
He believes safety, security and connectivity are the key roles that intelligent lighting will play in smart cities.
‘It’s really exciting – but it’s challenging too. The technology has changed completely so for a lighting company that means moving from being a traditional lamps and luminaires company into become an electronics manufacturer. That means changing your R&D and even changing your people. In Schreder we’re use the phrase ‘beyond lighting’.
‘Look at the big players – Philips, GE and Osram – having to sell their lamps businesses, as that model is dying. They need to change and they need to change quickly because the transition to LED and electronics is happening faster than than people thought.’
Schreder will be exhibiting its first major luminaire range targeting the smart city market at LuxLive Middle East 2016 in Abu Dhabi in April. Shuffle is an ‘integrated smart city luminaire’ with features such as wi-fi, security cameras, public-address speakers, air-quality sensors and electric-car chargers.
It's really exciting - but it's very challenging too as it means we need to change our businesses fundamentally"
He believes the low-power wide-area standard LoRa – an open protocol currently being adopted by Cisco and IBM among others – could be a possible candidate for data transfer between street lights in a smart city when it becomes available. Schreder has its own application, Owlet Nightshift, which uses the Zigbee open protocol. Shanaah believes that lighting companies will have to adopt whatever technology gains currency in the smart city landscape.
‘Each city has slightly different priorites and technologies and each will move at its own pace,’ says Shanaah. ‘But there’s no doubt that smart cities are going to become a reality.’
- Schreder will be showing the Shuffle smart city luminaire at LuxLive Middle East 2016 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Wednesday 13 April and Thursday 14 April. See the full list of exhibitors and the speaker programme, and register for free here.