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How streetlights get smart in IoT

How streetlights get smart in IoT
With the Internet of Things (IoT) getting more popular than ever, even streetlights can be connected to the Internet to become smarter, more power-efficient, and more cost-effective. That is the key point that the Institute for Information Technology (III) wants to prove.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) getting more popular than ever, even streetlights can be connected to the Internet to become smarter, more power-efficient, and more cost-effective. That is the key point that the Institute for Information Technology (III) wants to prove during its exhibition at Computex this year.

A highlight of the III booth was its In-Light intelligent lighting management system capable of managing over 100,000 streetlights. One unique aspect of the system is that only one light in a circuit serves as the gateway to the Internet; all the other lights are connected to the main light via a wired or wireless approach.

“This reduces your equipment and installation cost,” said Daniel Liu, PM at the Smart Network System Institute under III.

According to him, being able to monitor and control the lights from anywhere, anytime for city administrators is one benefit of a connected streetlight system. It can instantly detect lights that are failing or malfunctioning, and transmits the information to the administrator who can then dispatch worker to do the repair work. “Street lights go broke or damaged from time to time. If you send people to examine them one by one, that wastes human resources and labor. So, via the system’s network architecture and self-diagnostic capability, it checks whether the lights are working properly. If not, it alerts the administrator,” Liu said.

Also, being connected to the Internet makes the lights truly smart, as they can turn on or off automatically, based on input or data from other sources such as the weather bureau. “Light sensors can work too, but they can be quite sensitive, triggering the streetlamps even if the sky is just turning from sunny to cloudy,” Liu said. “What we do is to feed into the system forecasts by the local weather bureau on when the sun is expected to rise and set. The lights can then turn on and off accordingly, keeping pedestrians safe as well as saving energy.”

Besides the smart street lamps, III also demonstrated its energy-saving solutions for enterprises and factories, whereby users can monitor energy usage and gas quality via the institute’s various IoT solutions.

Industry aside, III also began developing home solutions last year, consisting of meters and sensors that detect power usage, as well as the level of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, around the house. All data is transmitted to the cloud, where analysis of the data is carried out.

“We not only generate reports on power consumption, but also make recommendations and suggestions,” Liu said. “For example, people are sleeping from 12 to 8 a.m., but they have the habit of leaving something running, for example electric water boilers. So we recommend them that they turn it off. This way 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity may be saved, and that’s NT$100 every month.”

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