A network-connected street light is referred to as a “smart street light.” An outdoor lighting controller, internet of things device, and/or sensors are included with every street light. A smart street light automatically adjusts the light level in accordance with the timings of sunset and sunrise, the daily schedule, the presence of people, traffic, and/or the weather. resulting in significant energy savings and decreased maintenance expenses. A central management system receives data from smart street lights in near real-time, providing the following information to the street light operator:
- Complete control of each light source,
- Information about the condition of public lighting, and
- Access to a variety of lighting services and apps.
What is the working process of smart street lights?
Based on data from external sensors and inputs from a clever algorithm, a linked smart street light automatically controls the amount of light it emits. Some examples of these inputs are the local sunset and sunrise times, the daily light schedule, the pre-programmed light scene, the presence of people, traffic, and/or the weather.
A traditional or LED street light is often fitted with an outdoor lighting controller in order to accomplish this (OLC). This controller’s primary function is to communicate commands to and from the connected street light. Switching, dimming, scheduling, and maintenance messages are a few examples of such commands.
Additionally, the outdoor lamp controller (OLC) serves as a conduit between a central management system and a linked street light (web-based software, CMS). Data about luminaires is gathered by the OLC and shared with the central management system.
Today, there are typically four types of street light controllers to choose from:
- Controller NEMA
- Controller Zhaga
- Luminaire controller (it is installed inside a luminaire)
- Controller pole mounted
Which communication methods does a smart street light employ most frequently?
To communicate with a command and control center (C&C) or central light management platform (CMS), an outdoor street lighting controller (OLC) employs a variety of communication mechanisms (CCC). Every kind of communication has advantages and disadvantages. A City should decide on the best communication technology based on the circumstances in its area.
- Radio frequency mesh. One of the most popular and often appropriate for small networks is mesh (below 5000 smart street lights). It is a frequently used technology for intelligent streetlights with motion sensors. The wireless mesh network used by RF Mesh operates at 2.4 GHz and 868 MHz. Typically, controllers report to a gateway, which links to CMS.
- LoRaWAN is a low-power, wide-area wireless network that enables connected internet-of-things devices to be managed by one or more LoRa Gateways. It is appropriate for some smart city applications, such metering. However, LoRaWAN is not advised for the application of smart street lighting due to security, data limitation, and single-point-of-failure issues.
- Devices using ultra narrowband link to a centralized UNB Gateway using UNB, which is comparable to LoRaWAN (s). A proprietary communication technology called UNB is made available by particular suppliers. Cities who are thinking about employing UNB for public vital infrastructure continue to have major worries about lack of international standards, security breaches, and single points of failure.
- For data connection between the controller (OLC) and the Gateway, PLC-powerline communication makes use of existing power cables (segment controller). In the early 2000s, this technology was widely used. However, it is an obsolete technology that frequently lacks replacement parts and security standards upgrades.
- Cellular IoT – Cellular IoT has emerged as the most popular option for extensive citywide deployments of smart street lights (more than 5000 smart street lights). Here, a SIM card or eSIM is installed in an outdoor lamp controller (OLC). The local telecom tower is directly connected by OLC (without a physical Gateway). Today, billions of devices (including mobile phones, ATMs, and traffic lights) employ cellular IoT, which is supported by the 3GPP mobile broadband worldwide cooperation and the highest security standard.
What kinds of sensors are compatible with smart street lighting?
One or more sensors are frequently included in smart street lights. These sensors are either linked externally to the outdoor lamp controller (OLC) or are included into the OLC. The following is a list of several street light sensor types and their purposes:
- Based on the level of ambient light, the photocell/ambient light sensor modifies the street light’s illumination (including on/off switching).
- Light intensity is adjusted by a motion sensor in response to the identification of people. Lower light levels when no one is present and brighter lights are detected. so bringing together excellent savings and public safety.
- An acoustic sensor can pick up noises like a loud scream and traffic. and may recognize gunshots to notify the authorities.
- Accelerometer: raises alarm when it senses pole tilt or pole hit.
- Seismic sensors let emergency responders assess damage and plan ahead for safety by monitoring earthquakes and ground motions.
- Parking lot sensor: locates open places for parking.
Smart Street Lighting’s Advantages
A realistic, affordable, and sustainable solution to reduce energy use and costs is using smart street lights. By informing the lighting operator in time for an immediate repair when necessary, smart street lights significantly enhance community quality of life and public safety.
Smart street lighting have several major advantages, including:
- Over and beyond the energy savings from switching to LED streetlights, between 60% and 80%,
- Complete authority over the infrastructure for public illumination.
- Change from reactive to preventative maintenance can significantly save operational costs.
- By providing excellent illumination and assisting the operator to keep the lighting infrastructure up to date, significant advances in public safety are made. Public perception of public safety is further enhanced with motion sensor street lights.
- By dimming the street lights during off-peak hours or using motion sensors, you can reduce light pollution and protect the surrounding flora and fauna.
- Reduce energy waste to aid in combating climate change.
- Interconnecting various IoT technologies will serve as the foundation for the Smart City.
- All of the aforementioned advantages start to materialize the day after installation.
Given the advantages of smart street lighting, more and more cities worldwide are implementing LED streetlights with smart controllers. When choosing LED street lights, the city will be future-proof thanks to the slight increase in investment for smart controllers.