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Smart Lighting in Smart Cities

Smart Lighting in Smart Cities

LED smart lighting has been a hot topic lately, and for good reason. Using visible light communication (VLC), LED smart lights broadcast digital content such as video, sound, image, text, and GPS coordinates to smart phones or other devices via light waves. VLC can transfer data up to 10 times faster than Wi-Fi, and because it doesn’t use radio waves, there is no risk of interference with other connected devices. While smart lighting has many valuable uses in the home and even in commercial settings, we have yet to discuss the greater potential of this innovative technology in cities. 

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Cites all over the world, from Madrid to Abu Dhabi, have been investing billions of dollars in LED smart lighting systems that can reduce municipal electricity costs, enable needs-based lighting, and lower CO2 emissions. These smart lighting systems can also provide services such as internet connection or help collect information on the weather, air quality, traffic, or parking availability. Some city planners even see smart street lamps as nodes for an entirely connected urban infrastructure—or a “smart city.”

In a smart city, devices such as smart streetlights located throughout a city collect data. This data is then fed back into a centralized computer system and used to increase the efficiency of the city’s infrastructure and other services. For example, imagine if every set of traffic lights in a city was equipped with smart technology. The lights would be able to tell the central computer exactly where the traffic is heaviest, and the computer would adjust the phasing of the lights accordingly. This would make city life exponentially easier for visitors and inhabitants alike.

Right now, 54% of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 66%. City governments will have to reevaluate how they manage transportation, communal spaces, environment, and flow of people. With an increasing number of connected devices hitting the market, smart cities seem inevitable. Using LED smart lighting to create these cities is one of the more feasible ways to handle the coming influx of people, and not to mention support our increasingly connected world.

Smart city lighting is not expected to be commonplace for a while—maybe not even in our lifetimes. Until then, be aware that your city may one day be smarter than you think! So what do you think about smart cities? Continue the conversation with us below, and be sure to follow us for more lighting updates on social media through FacebookTwitterGoogle PlusLinkedInPinterest, or Instagram!

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