by Richard McPartland
As we've oft-talked-about here on theNBS.com our cities are getting smarter and better connected. And the humble lamppost could have a key role to play in building out a network of cleverly-connected infrastructure.
Their ubiquity, link to an electricity supply, and a certain amount of space to play with to pack in smart tech, means that they could be one of the quicker wins in the roll out of smart cities. That's certainly the view of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC, for short). The body is charged with the task of coming up new solutions for environmental, societal and health challenges and consists of governmental and industry representatives, backed by the European Commission. Through its work it helps coordinate existing city initiatives and co-funds demonstration projects and those "humble lampposts" are now well and truly in its sights with the aim of delivering 10 million across EU cities.
The initiative's not only about shifting to energy-saving light emitting diode (LED) technologies, it's also about the potential for other purposes.... be it as electrical vehicle charging points, environmental monitoring stations, in providing digital street signage, WiFi stations and providing pedestrian and traffic monitoring / management solutions.
It's not hard to see the potential and now the EIP-SCC has published a survey to try and get the measure of requirements, existing and forthcoming plans as well as opinions and ideas on the technological potential. The aim being to capture current activity, understand financial requirements and share lessons learnt to allow smart cities to be successfully and confidently rolled out.
Interim findings are encouraging. Most of the city authorities that have responded thus far are keen to explore the potential, some are running pilots and some have progressed to procurement or implementation. And respondents are definitely interested in the smarts - 83% compared to 17% looking merely to swap the lighting technology over to LED.
Respondents are keen to see successful projects in action before firming up a commitment... and being able to prove a return on investment and which technologies and services will work and even how the public will view the 'monitoring' functions of our smart lights before committing are all helping to drive the research into likely business model and aggregate demand.
The Humble Lamppost survey remains open until the end of August 2017.