TWO local authorities in London are connecting 28,000 LED street lights to wireless mesh controls based on Internet protocols.
London's financial district, known as the City of London, as well as the Borough of Barking and Dagenham in the city's northeast, will now control street lights remotely using so-called Internet of Things protocol.
The City of London will connect about 12,000 LED street lights to an IoT mesh network, and Barking and Dagenham about 15,500. The lights could eventually become part of an IoT scheme in which they help collect information on things like traffic, parking, noise, and air quality.
The mesh topology treats street lights as nodes in a network, allowing lights to relay information to each other and thus ease the process of remote switching and dimming. It also helps to monitor the performance of each light, cutting down on maintenance costs. The Starfish mesh is supplied by Californian technology firm Silver Spring Networks. The City of Westminster, another London borough, has already been using Starfish.
Wireless mesh technology has grabbed lighting headlines recently because the Bluetooth Special Interest Group last month issued a long awaited standard for meshing Bluetooth devices including LED lights.
Silver Spring's Starfish mesh is based on the IEEE 802.154g standard — also known as Wi-SUN for wireless smart utility network — and uses the IPv6 Internet Protocol.
The control system suits a service business model. Silver Spring now describes Starfish as a ‘platform as a service’, although it did not reveal its arrangement in London.
‘Silver Spring’s platform was selected to provide 100 per cent coverage in the dense urban setting of the City of London, including streets, lanes, and alleyways where cellular technology is unavailable, and star networks could not reach,’ a Silver Spring spokesperson said. ‘The smart street lights will help the City of London achieve its energy savings goals and reduce operational costs, while also improving service reliability and helping to lay a platform for future IoT applications.’
Silver Spring offers management software, called Streetlight.Vision, to help control Starfish. It was not immediately clear whether the two new London sites are using the software.
Another company, Urban Control, is also involved in the installation. The Hoddesdon, England-based company is part of Britain's DW Windsor Group lighting company.
‘The reliability, resilience, and cybersecurity of the system were key requirements for us,’ said Giles Radford, highways manager, City of London Corporation. ‘We thoroughly evaluated technology options which were proven to connect critical devices at-scale, and guarantee highly reliable coverage, regardless of where the device is connected in the city. We look forward to working with Urban Control to deploy Silver Spring technology that will help drive smart city services for the City of London.’
Barking and Dagenham are using the Silver Spring and Urban Control system ‘to drive energy efficiency through remote dimming and brightening of the new smart street lights,’ the Silver Spring spokesperson said. ‘The program is a core aspect of the Borough’s goal to become the Green Energy Capital of London, and an important aspect within the selection was Silver Spring’s ability to deploy additional IoT services in the future.’
Silver Spring has been implementing its Internet-based mesh topology for several years in cities including Denver, Providence, Miami, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Crossmolina (Ireland), Bristol (England), Copenhagen, Dubai, Glasgow, Kolkata, Melbourne, Mexico City, Paris, São Paulo, Singapore, and elsewhere.
Mark Halper is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, where this story first appeared.
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Picture: Ray Molony/Lux 2017