LED Retrofits - the Central Nervous System of Future Cities

Shining a light on LED’s immense capabilities.

The enormous growth of occupancy sensors, photosensors, lighting network gear, and other LED lighting applications are an indication of what’s to come: a future where LED does much more than provide municipalities with better, more efficient ways to light their cities. As the technology evolves, so do the uses for it, and in the case of LED retrofits, we’re just beginning to discover the capabilities of LED fixtures. Here’s a look at what a Navigant Research study found:

Intriguing potential.

More and more cities are using LED lighting that can be controlled remotely and automatically. Their semi-conductor nature makes it possible for lighting throughout the city and in commercial buildings to be shut off when there is no one around or buildings are empty and to automatically dim as the sun rises. It’s this control that has the potential to become the node on an intelligent controls network.

Consider the fact that the sensors being used in these LED lamps are also able to gather data on other factors of their surroundings including sensing temperature, occupancy, and other information; and that’s just the beginning.

Taking it to the streets.

LED retrofits could not only do their job with decreasing energy consumption, they could help raise revenue in the city with things like smart parking systems whereby the technology is able to sense when new parking spots open and then push notifications to a mobile app. Many cities already use the technology to catch red-light runners and those that commit other minor traffic violations with cameras that capture the action as it takes place. Tickets are automatically generated and sent out to the drivers; increasing revenue for these type of offenses.

Bumping up security.

LED lighting networks could also ramp up security in commercial and government buildings making possible capabilities like sending an alert or a notification when someone has entered a room and managing who enters and exits the building. In addition, surveillance of stores and parking lots becomes much easier, more streamlined, and efficient with the use of fixtures that are LED retrofitted. The country of El Salvador is installing the technology to assist with national security and to gain better control of exporting and importing activities.

Helping companies manage.

In a building where LED retrofits are installed, companies can utilize the networking and control capabilities to manage things like conference room usage and department resources.

In grocery stores and other businesses where food is sold, the overhead lighting, when LED retrofitted, could track food expiration dates, reducing the amount of items that have to be discarded because of spoilage.

Wi-Fi everyone?

Today many smart cities have already implemented Wi-Fi capabilities in common areas throughout their cities. LED lighting already has electricity coming from it and provides a vehicle to implement Wi-Fi city-wide by using these sensors on lighting fixtures. The light poles in essence then become the architectural backbone, or as I like to say, the central nervous system of a city and the future of connectivity.

And those who balk at the possibilities for fear of endangering privacy and security can feel a sense of reassurance by the fact that the Block Chain provides an incorruptible avenue that protects every interaction that is made and exists.

LED Retrofits have indisputable benefits and will lead to the development of a big data infrastructure in the cloud, making way for people to develop even more applications. Companies are already buying into the idea. Many startup companies have entered the space and have raised millions in venture capital, partnered with the likes of General Electric, RVLT, Phillips & Toshiba are currently forging a path for the development and commercialization of LED lighting. 

There’s no doubt that LED retrofits are currently presenting many new possibilities for cities around the world, but some are slow to retrofit in order to utilize this lighting to their gain beyond the money savings and energy efficiency it was originally designed to provide. It’s truly an exciting and enticing prospect to see LED Retrofits become the central nervous system of the future of cities - the “Trojan Horse” of the IoT Future.

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Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Co-founder and visionary behind P3 Global Management, P3GM. At P3GM he leads the global development and policy work behind structuring Public Private Partnerships (PPP) around smart infrastructure with local, state and federal governments.

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