Smart city citizens and visitors are reaping benefits from innovation that enables device connectivity. Beyond reduced energy costs, carbon footprint reductions and increased public safety, two things have become abundantly clear from deployments of scaled smart cities programs: the benefits of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city services such as intelligent streetlights can have a ripple effect on a larger community’s smart initiatives, and smart city infrastructure is here to stay. As these trends evolve, it’s critical that a city implement solutions with flexibility, scalability and interoperability, as these critical factors will allow them to deploy multiple applications on a single network, and help prep for future expansions.
Many cities and their utility counterparts are already leading the charge for smart cities by capitalizing on these technology requirements. For example:
- The City of Paris has upgraded the existing lighting fixtures across the city with integrated smart streetlighting and traffic signal control to improve its operational efficiencies – achieving 99.5% reliability for real-time streetlight switching – and expected energy savings of 30 percent by 2020.
- The City of Copenhagen deployed and enhanced its city lighting system with intelligent LEDs, designed to improve energy efficiency, lower operational costs, enable remote management and improve citizen safety. Also, the sensors installed improved public safety by automatically increasing lighting levels when cyclists approached intersections.
- Florida Power & Light expanded their existing network to provide real-time centralized monitoring and control for their 500,000 streetlights, which included the added benefit of improving their overall mesh network performance and reliability. Additionally, the streetlight control system allows FP&L to adjust the lighting near sea turtle nests during hatching season, reducing the effect street lights have on turtles making their way to sea.
Technology standards are crucial to achieve the flexibility and scalability required for long-term smart city programs. To achieve scalability and interoperability, standards must be relevant, widely supported, formally ratified by a recognized body and include testing to achieve certification. For instance, Itron is a member of a few different organizations that promote industry standards, including the Wi‑SUN Alliance and the TALQ Consortium. Both of these organizations support an open, standards-based approach that enables cities to foster an open-ecosystem approach and maximize initial investments in, for example, smart streetlights, to derive tangible benefits.
For instance, as a member of the TALQ Consortium, Itron work alongside other member companies that are dedicated to pushing interoperability for outdoor lighting networks. This open, standards-based approach to certification is critical in creating IoT services and applications networks for smart city programs, which fuels innovation of the future. Examples of these services and applications include traffic monitoring systems, advanced metering and emergency service monitoring. In short, investing in a network that supports standards and interoperability enables cities to adopt an infrastructure now that prepares it for future needs.
When making that investment, it’s crucial to choose a network and infrastructure that aligns with an open, standards-based industry certification. Here’s why:
- Support for multiple applications: With an extensible standards-based network platform, cities can build an infrastructure that fits their needs today and can scale to accommodate smart city applications of the future. The platform should include network architecture, security protocols and back-office management software.
- Device and application flexibility: Rather than being constrained by a proprietary solution from a single vendor, a standards-based network gives cities the flexibility to choose devices and application packages from a variety of vendors, thereby avoiding vendor lock‑in and future proofing their infrastructure.
- Access to innovation: An open ecosystem allows innovation to flourish. Solution providers can rely on a community which will allow them to market their innovative applications and devices to a larger customer base. Cities can adopt new technologies and applications incrementally, while being assured about their compatibility with their infrastructure.
As cities continue to invest in and deploy new smart city technologies, preparing for the future needs is an absolute must. Utilizing open, standards based networks, which promote interoperability between applications, helps a city anticipate its future growth and evolution. With the future-proof foundation in place, the benefits a city will enable become infinite.