Public Lighting as a Strategic Asset: Who Benefits and How?

by Gary Atkinson | May 16, 2017

Smart City, Lighting, smart city technology


In my last post, I proposed turning streetlights or public lighting from being a cost burden, purely a line in the highways budget, into a smart city (you can read town, village or campus here too) connectivity backbone that all departments in the local authority or municipality could benefit from.  By investing a bit more money during the streetlight upgrade program - many public bodies are looking to invest in their lighting in order to save energy and maintenance costs - the new lighting can be augmented with a radio node to create a wireless network to which a whole host of sensors and controllers can be attached.

The main challenge here is that the lighting department will be focused on meeting their own objectives and may not want to pay for what they would call a Central Management System (CMS) that could be less familiar to them and certainly more capable than they themselves would need. So the question becomes "Who pays for the extra capability?"

This is something that we have come to recognise over the last year or so in our conversations with local authorities as the various departments tend to be pretty siloed when it comes to sharing resources or budget. However, this is not necessarily intentional, it is just a function of how the local authorities are structured from an organisation perspective and the different groups are not familiar with the needs and wants of each other. We think this needs to be addressed if municipalities are going to invest in the right infrastructure to make their budgets go further and do more with less.

In order to encourage cross group interaction and facilitate solution ideas, we are offering a half day workshop to local authorities who know they need to embrace Smart City Technology but are not clear on what it might look like or to what extent they could utilise a smart lighting network if it did exist. For example, it is pretty easy to imagine air quality sensors in the street sending data from lamp post to lamp post until it gets to the dashboard used by the environmental teams but how might the adult care team utilise it? What about other parts of the highways department or the transport group? Often, it is difficult to imagine the solution if you are not familiar with the options open to you or you may have come up with a solution that could not satisfy a business case because you had to invest in its own infrastructure. If you knew you had a ready made data transport system and only had to fund the edge devices and the service, how would that alter the Return on Investment (ROI)?

smart city workshop, how to make public lighting a strategic asset

So we are launching our Future Cities Workshop this week at the Smart to Future Cities conference in London but if you are in local government and have an interest in Smart City solutions, you can get a sneak peak at our offering and get your name in for a chance to win one of these workshops for you and your council. Maybe we can come up with something great....together.

Fo more information on our workshop, please visit this link or click the image below.

Enlight Smart City Workshop

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