Smart urban lighting: business opportunities and benefits

Nacho Palou    31 January, 2023

Smart street lighting is one of the pillars of smart cities. In fact, it is one of the best examples of what the term Smart City means: the application of next-generation digital technologies to improve the lives of citizens with more efficient and sustainable public services.

The concept of smart street lighting brings together all these advantages thanks to the confluence of LED lighting technology, connectivity, IoT (Internet of Things) devices and management platforms with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In this way, each luminaire or streetlight in the public lighting network is connected via 5G or NB-IoT communications networks to send the data captured by different sensors (lighting, environmental or consumption, among others) to a platform capable of automatically optimising the operation and individual efficiency of each luminaire.

Why should energy be consumed when there is no one in the street?

Smart street lighting not only can adjust the intensity of light depending on the presence of people on the street.

It also has the ability to predict, thanks to Artificial Intelligence algorithms, when and with what intensity it will be necessary to switch on each luminaire. Or the lighting of a building or monument, for example. This improves the efficiency of the network and also the feeling of safety and the perception of service for citizens.

Smart street lighting has the potential to reduce electricity consumption and pollutant emissions significantly. These savings are in addition to the lower consumption implicit in LED light sources.

LED lighting is not only cheaper and more efficient, but also has a significantly longer lifetime than conventional light sources, gas or filament lighting.

Savings and new business opportunities for municipalities

Smart street lighting allows municipalities, councils and city governments to take advantage of the ubiquity of streetlights to provide additional services, including:

  • Sensors to combat light, noise and environmental pollution.
  • Charging points for electric vehicles.
  • Security and traffic control cameras.
  • Wifi access points to municipal networks.
  • Recharging points for public transport cards.
  • Information or advertising panels.
  • Mobile phone and 5G antennas.

Some of the additional services have the potential to generate extra revenue for municipalities.

It also means better service and attention to the citizens, fewer calls for warning or complaints about broken luminaires, more efficient maintenance….

And, of course, it increases the attractiveness of the city. Both for citizens and tourists, by promoting social and cultural activities, as well as for businesses and companies.

Benefits of Smart urban lighting for citizens

A smart street lighting network has a positive impact on citizens and on the image of cities. Adapting the lighting to the needs of the streets, for example, improves the safety of public spaces and the mobility of both people and vehicles.

Smart public lighting also reduces light pollution and the nuisance that fixed and constant intensity lighting sometimes causes to nearby premises and dwellings —including flora and fauna— improving the quality of life of citizens.

It also benefits citizens by enabling the new services already mentioned, such as charging points for electric vehicles for residents without a garage or domestic charging point.

Featured photo: Vlado Paunovic / Unsplash