Wireless platform turns Square Mile into smart city

A WIRELESS control network encompassing 15,000 luminaires is set to turn the City of London into a ‘smart city’.

The network features 10 gateways, using Wi-Sun’s self-forming and self-healing mesh functions to add devices to the network, as well as UrbanControl’s software-based security offerings to comply with the City’s stringent requirements.

As well as lighting control, including dimming, the system supports applications such as traffic and parking monitoring, occupancy sensing, environmental monitoring and asset management.

Already the system is monitoring the presence of the lifebelts on the river banks.

The platform, supplied by Itron and Urban Control, is an open-source network based on the Wi-Sun Alliance mesh standard. The two-year project, which has already won a 2019 Lux Award is set to be completed in 2020.

The scheme has led to a 60 per cent reduction in energy use and generates data thanks to pollution and air quality sensors as well as vehicle flow sensors for real time traffic monitoring.

There is individual lantern control using an RF mesh Central Management System (CMS) and Smart City Network from which lighting and smart city technologies and services can be developed.

The system works by sending out a radio-frequency signal from a small number of access points to nodes in each street light. Each node has its own IP address and acts as a relay to every other node, creating the ‘mesh’.

The network features 10 gateways, using Wi-Sun’s self-forming and self-healing mesh functions to add devices to the network, as well as UrbanControl’s software-based security offerings to comply with the City’s stringent requirements.

‘Five years ago we were not in a good place,’ says Giles Radford, highways manager at the City of London. ‘Meter supplies were a big headache and we needed light scouts to check for failures. Now we’re looking to add a range of innovative smart city applications’.

‘Five years ago we were not in a good place,’ says Giles Radford, highways manager at the City of London. ‘Meter supplies were a big headache and we needed light scouts to check for failures. Now we’re looking to add a range of innovative smart city applications’.

The implementation is complemented by a whole new City of London’s lighting strategy, developed in association with independent lighting design practice Speirs + Major.

The strategy pulls together three main streams of thought: lighting for people, sustainability and the future.

It addresses over-lighting, unnecessary light pollution, excessive glare and inconsistencies in lighting design, while providing a digital platform on which so-called ‘Smart City’ technologies can be introduced.

A replacement strategy means 30-year-old stock has been replaced  with easy to maintain technology.

There is better balanced light and darkness: meeting both functional and aesthetic need.

The plan provides suitable and sufficient energy savings: meeting corporate objectives reducing energy costs and the environmental impact.
There is a variable colour temperature strategy. Main roads are lit in 4000K, side roads in 3000K and heritage luminaires and ‘areas of interest’ are a warm 2700K.

Dimming profiles and lighting levels are adaptive can be amended through interactive technology.

The street lights include pollution and air quality sensors as well as vehicle flow sensors for real time traffic data.

Following an initial period of consultation and member approvals, trials were conducted to select colour temperature and mounting heights that are fit for purpose.

The procurement process and trials discovered that the environment, with its narrow streets, tall buildings, and even the construction materials of some of these buildings, meant that the City really struggled to find a system that carried the signal where and when it wanted. The long-range and mesh topology of the Wi-Sun system coped with the City’s special requirements.

To ensure the legacy of the strategy and the lighting upgrade is sustained, the City of London has created a street lighting board for on-going improvements and developments.