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Super Smart Street Lights Installed in Essex

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Last week we published an article on how cities and municipalities could make use of existing lighting infrastructure to aid their smart city development. The article generated a lot of interest, so we thought we would follow it up with a practical case study from a County Council in the UK that is in the process of implementing smart street lights.

Nowadays most cities have invested in the installation of street lighting, but only a small percentage of these use LED, others opt for CFL, metal halide or sodium vapour. Essex County Council, along with Ringway Jacobs, is the first council in the UK to have implemented a trial using six smart lights, which have the potential to check pollution levels, guide vehicles and create Wi-Fi hotspots.

The lamps are Philips DigiStreet LEDs, they feature the very latest LED technology that uses less electricity, they were installed on Market Road in Chelmsford. The result of the test will be a determining factor for the installation of thousands of smart lights across the whole of the United Kingdom.

In the first quarter of 2016, Philips introduced its DigiStreet line of luminaries for public and street lighting for cities, designed with energy-saving LED technology. Philips DigiStreet focuses on using the latest LED lighting technology, allowing them to achieve energy savings of around 40% compared to conventional lighting.

They also feature a universal plug located on the top of the lamp, the plug allows for the connection of additional devices, such as: sensors that can collect various forms of data  and controls that can help the city employees with traffic, pedestrians and weather, among other things. It is suggested that in the future these attachments will offer other new monitoring and control features that can take advantage of the power supply of the lamp.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council, said: “We are taking advantage of new technology to create the potential for Smart Cities which will use technology to improve the quality of life for our residents.”

“New technology allows us to offer residents more, for less and supports our ambition to embrace digital to give our residents and businesses the quality of life and work they aspire to. If the trial is successful, the options for these ‘smart’ street lights are almost limitless going forward. It is part of an innovative project at Essex County Council using new technology to allow us to create smart places along our road network, smart movement within our transport system and smart lives to help support those who need adult social care.”

Essex Highways and its group of engineers have installed more than 10,000 LED streetlights in Essex County over the last two years. Currently, the municipality has allocated investment funds for the installation of another 32,000 street lamps with LED technology. This will allow for future savings on energy and maintenance costs.

Without a doubt, this pilot trial of LED Smart Lights provides an opportunity to allow greater efficiency in lighting and conservation of energy. Studies reveal that efficient street lighting is critical to modern cities; providing the ability to find key points of interest, within a secure environment.