Fog Computing Feature
October 30, 2014

Sensity: The Move to LED Public Lighting Could Be a Boon for Public IoT Deployments

Many of the world’s outdated outside lights are near ready to burn out, and when that happens they will be replaced with more energy- and cost-efficient lights. When cities update these fixtures, they also have the opportunity to leverage their field personnel and truck rolls to convert city lighting infrastructure into a distributed sensing platform for smart city applications such as public safety and security, retail analytics, smart lighting, and smart parking.

This is a message Sensity Systems, along with its partner Cisco Systems, is promoting.

Hugh Martin, chairman and CEO of Sensity Systems, in a recent interview with M2M Evolution, said that all of the world’s existing 4 billion public light fixtures will be converted to LED in the next 10 to 15 years. Typical lights burn out every two to three years, and new LED lights will create savings because they last longer and consume less energy, so the move to LED is a given, he said.

LED lights require DC power in every fixture in which they are housed, and that’s just fine, because cities typically already have budgets established to maintain and upgrade public lighting systems, Martin said. Meanwhile, there are not typically budgets in place to support new initiatives involving the Internet of Things, he noted. That said, it makes perfect sense for IoT sensor installs to piggyback on the LED light upgrade process, making the cost of IoT equipment deployment remarkably inexpensive, Martin suggested.

This message is resonating with at least a handful of major cities. Martin said the CIO of the City of Chicago in issuing a request for information recently about upgrading its 425,0000 fixtures to LED commented that it would be criminal to not at the same time put in infrastructure to allow for more efficient cities.

Sensity is running pilots in Chicago and Detroit, and is working to launch pilots in four other North American cities. It is also working on a trial in Bangalore with Cisco Systems, which is one of Sensity’s preferred providers of network infrastructure, such as public Wi-Fi gear. Sensity also has been tapped by surveillance video system company Genetec and mall operator Simon Property Group to provide its NetSense solution, on which the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey also is standardizing. As of this month, Martin said, Sensity is actively managing 15,000 to 20,000 NetSense nodes.

Although Sensity does sell lights, Martin said the company is really focused in the long term on its NetSense system, which it licenses to light manufacturers at no cost. As part of its solution, Sensity developed software including APIs to connect to the back end of the cloud; a handful of applications to kick start the use of its platform; the ability for third-parties to build and host their own applications on the platform; and NetSense Live, a global operations center Sensity uses to support a service through which it provides end customers like cities and property managers with application and network monitoring and maintenance.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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