Smart Industry 1/2019

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home, local leaders want a fair share

of the potential growth. Growth is an

indicator of a thriving city and councils

realize that they need to deliver the

services and quality of life people seek.

Several elements brought into focus

during the public competition for

Amazon’s second headquarters also

apply to most businesses. Factors at

work include an educated workforce, a

forgiving tax structure, transportation,

room to grow, and the ability to stand

out. Employees have different criteria

for selecting where to live and spend

their free time and every person’s set

of priorities is unique. Citizen’s choices

are driven by issues such as safe

neighborhoods; work and educational

opportunities; housing costs; efficient

transportation; the convenience of

arts, leisure, recreation, and community

activities; and the “energy” given

off by the community.

Bullish on Smart Solutions

To address the urban challenges that

come with such growth, and to become

more competitive, municipal

authorities are embracing technology

as they become especially bullish

about “smart city solutions,” adopting

them as new but essential tools.

By adding Global Positioning System

chips, sensors, cameras, and other devices

to traditional municipal assets,

such as streetlights and trash cans,

cities are transforming into a digital

conurbation that can be measured,

monitored, and analyzed to improve

outcomes.

Smart city solutions are data-driven

systems that either provide managers

with greater situational awareness

leading to better decision-making, or

that drive automatic actions, increasingly

assisted by machine learning

and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Peter Drucker, the great management

thinker, offered his own guidance on

this: “You can’t manage what you can’t

measure” – a rule that’s being applied

in earnest in today’s cities.

The most prevalent of the new city

solutions is smart lighting. As with

the death of traditional incandescent

bulbs, the bright new hopes of highpressure

sodium (HPS) and metal

halide (MH) streetlights are now dimming.

The replacement fixtures are

LEDs because they reduce energy usage

and cut costs by up to 50 percent.

LED replacements don’t make a city

smart but they can be deployed along

with a lighting control system to make

each streetlight a manageable asset.

Such control gives a city’s department

of public works new capabilities that

improve the lighting service delivered.

These new capabilities add abilities

such as remotely turning lights on

and off, or dimming them during different

parts of the day throughout the

year. When combined with motion

detectors, lamps can be automatically

turned on if the presence of a person

or vehicle is detected. Controllers can

also help cities reduce the maintenance

costs of streetlights by 30 to 50

percent and reduce energy usage by

an additional 25 to 30 percent. Customer

complaints about burned-out

lights could be eliminated by giving

management staff proactive alerts to

imminent lighting issues.

Beyond lighting there are numerous

other solutions being deployed

today, including keeping watch in

crime-ridden areas, rapidly informing

first responders, measuring

economic activity, improving traffic

at dense intersections, correlating

weather conditions to electrical and

other intermittent problems, tracking

road conditions, and providing municipal

announcements to citizens.

The variety of smart city applications

is matched only by the range of city

problems.

Streetlights

will be the

eyes and ears

of tomorrow’s

smart cities.

Anil Agrawai,

CEO Cimcon Lighting

Specific technologies have come to

the forefront to solve these diverse

challenges. Most notably, there are

sensors that can be attached to streetlights

to transform the lighting infrastructure

into a citywide mesh to

create a digital canopy across the city.

Readings can be transmitted from the

sensor network back to a central management

system where the data can

be aggregated, correlated with other

information, and analyzed.

One such smart city platform is Near-

Sky offered by Cimcon Lighting. According

to Anil Agrawal, the company’s

CEO and founder: “We had a vision

that NearSky could soon transform the

nondescript streetlight infrastructure

into a platform that would be the eyes

and ears of tomorrow’s smart cities.

The convenience and density of the

streetlight infrastructure, which provides

street-level resolution, was unmatched.

It also offered the physical

real estate and power that were essential

elements for deploying smart city

solutions.”

Technology alone isn’t the answer.

It may turn the outdoor world into a

series of data streams but it still takes

people to act. In the same way cities

have begun to invest in smart technologies,

they have also begun to invest

in their management teams.

A smart city strategy is usually led by a

chief technology officer, a chief digital

officer, a chief information officer, or

a chief innovation officer. All of these

roles stem from the need for challenges

to be addressed by a person or

team with a cross-departmental focus.

Systems were deployed originally as

point solutions with their focus on a

single department but it has become

clear that a smart city is built over time

and there is a need to have a data

management strategy that spans all

departments and all projects to get

the best outcomes.

The smart city is not a radically new

concept. People have been imagining

the benefits for decades but the

concept is finally gaining traction.

There is an increasing sense that not

having a plan for becoming a smarter

city could mean your municipality will

be on the outside looking in for

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