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Smart lighting solution to drive smart cities

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Kathy Gibson reports from CeBit in Hannover – Huawei has brought its recently-launched Internet of Things (IoT) platform to life with a smart lighting solution that it is touting as the first step towards smart cities.
Swift Lu, president of Huawei switch and enterprise communications product line, points out that IoT is transforming many industries, and by 2025 there will be more than 100-billion connected devices.
“The challenge is now to match these devices with requirements,” he says.
“Last year we launched Agile IoT solution and strategy of one platform, two size approaches, one operating system; and over the past year we have created solutions in many different industries.”
Wu Chou, chief technology officer of Huawei switch and enterprise communications product line, explains that the world spends a tremendous amount of money on energy – and up to 19% of our energy consumption is from lighting. This is equivalent to a staggering 27,5-billion tonnes of carbon.
“The world has moved from fire to incandescent to LED lighting – and now we want to bring IoT into lighting as well.”
But the challenge is huge, he adds, with as many as 352-million street lights currently installed worldwide.
To tackle the challenge, Huawei has launched what it believes is the industry’s first multi-layer smart lighting control system.
Using its LiteOS IoT operating system, Huawei can turn streetlights into IoT devices, then wireless networking can make them part of the network. These feed into the Agile IoT Gateway and Agile Controller.
“Users can design and deploy applications on to the lamppost, and can manage lighting intelligently,” Chou says.
“This can reduced energy usage by 80% and operating expenditure by 90%,” he adds. “Because the system is open, there is rapid integration with third party apps and devices. We can deploy apps to the lampposts, which delivers tremendous advantages.”
By adding intelligence to streetlights, users can manage lighting to match the environment, and they can also control planning and policy-setting.
“We can also reduce the management and maintenance cost,” Chou says. “Administrators can monitor the lighting grid 24/7, with visible management. And predictive maintenance is possible to prevent outages.
“The system lends itself to high reliability with rapid self-healing, self-networking and link redundancy.”
The open operating system means that partners can add value or sensors to the system to start moving to a broader smart city.
By enabling third-party apps to be deployed, the use of the streetlights can go beyond lighting to additional sensors and devices that can be used for a variety of smart city applications that include – but are not limited to – smart parking, CCTV surveillance, environmental information and more.
“We want to build a smart city, and lighting solutions can make it happen,” Chou says. “We believe this will be of great value.”
A pilot site is already running in the Czech Republic city of Stod.
Petr Hartmann, CEO of the company responsible for the deployment, Enika Smart Light (ESL), says cities are looking for ways to spend less without reducing the service they provide.
“We need smart lighting solutions to help cities keep the same street lighting policy with a lower budget,” he explains.
For the commercial pilot in Stod, ESL and Huawei developed and localised the solution together.
“We have seen there can be savings of up to 80% in electricity consumption based on the pilot installation,” says Hartmann.
“This is an e solution that allows utility companies to bring added value to their customers through lower energy consumption, green initiative and automatic fault localisation.
“It can translate into higher profits for utility companies, together with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over the next eight to 10 years.”
Going forward, Hartmann expects to use similar solutions to build mesh networking for indoor and outdoor lighting, that would allow industry and commercial companies to reduce their lighting costs as well.