Smart Cities, Intelligent LED Lighting and the Internet of Things

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Smart Cities, Intelligent LED Lighting and the Internet of Things


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This is a guest blog written by Jocelyn Brown

Technological advances are ushering in a new age of smart lighting which is set to revolutionize homes, shops, offices, city streets, car parks and many other areas. LED lights in luminaires are being enhanced with a System-on-a-Chip, or SoC, running software, plus sensors to enable detection of external light levels. The embedded software enables the lights to be controlled through the Internet of Things, IoT for short, using PCs and mobile devices. Such lighting systems have the benefits of being more sophisticated and less costly to run and maintain.

Home Lighting

Using IoT, people can have home lighting that reacts to light automatically depending on the ambient levels determined by the weather and the time of day. It also allows homeowners to control their home lighting remotely, for example using security cameras to look around inside and outside, and raise light levels in areas that appear dark or need closer examination remotely.

Commercial Property Lighting

Office blocks, shopping centres and individual shops and offices will benefit from lighting through the IoT activities, and as the need for different lighting levels, changes during the day and night. Advertising and other display lighting can be adjusted where appropriate, either automatically or manually by a remote operator.

Intelligent Street Lighting

IoT-enabled LED street lights can be turned up more brightly if there is a special event, a crime or an accident, so that better-lit views of everything are available to emergency services or event spectators as appropriate. This technology has been pioneered at White Bear Lake in St Paul, Minnesota with great success.

Other Public Areas

In addition to street lighting, car parks, pedestrian squares and public gardens can all have intelligent lighting controlled by remote operators viewing security cameras to ensure that people are safe. The Chinese government is looking into creating entire smart cities using IoT technology.

Future Developments

The efficiency of solar powered lighting systems is forging ahead with the development of new technologies, making such systems cheaper and more powerful. The ability of solar systems to capture electricity has improved from 4% to 21% thanks to nanowires which enable both solar panels and LEDs to be more efficient. Being centralized, the Chinese government can spend on systems to benefit towns and cities across the nation. The USA Congress is also looking at funding programs and initiatives. These advances will help both developed and poorer nations across the globe to improve the lives of their citizens.

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