Halifax is the latest city to select Silver Spring's mesh network to operate individual LED street lights, monitor energy use, and report outages. Smart city applications could follow.
The Canadian city of Halifax has tapped a wireless control system from Silver Spring Networks to help cut costs and improve effectiveness of 43,000 new LED street lights covering a wide region, including outlying rural areas.
The Silver Spring wireless network paves the way for Halifax to add sensors for smart city applications such as meter reading and traffic monitoring, although the city will initially limit the technology to monitoring and controlling the lights, provided by local manufacturer LED Roadway Lighting.
Image credit: Kevin Brine via Shutterstock.
The Halifax Regional Municipality is believed to have spent US$30 million for the lights and control system, which together will replace a network of high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lights throughout the city of about 400,000 people.
“Silver Spring’s adaptive lighting platform offers real-time monitoring of our street lights, which eliminates the need for residents to phone in outages and allows us to better manage maintenance and replace burnt-out lights much sooner,” said Angus Doyle, utilities coordination manager for the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), in a press release. “It also opens doors for future smart city applications in Halifax, anything from water and electric meter readings to advertising panels and traffic counters.”
The HRM deployment covers Halifax — the capital of Nova Scotia — as well as surrounding rural areas, Silver Spring director business development Sean Tippett told LEDs Magazine.
“Halifax is such a wide region that there are really a lot of far-flung citizens,” Tippett said. “There is lighting in the hinterland, and you need to cover all the street lights both urban and rural, and when you have lights go out in a rural area, the city receives notification and the lights will be serviced. There was a strong interest to make sure all citizens of the municipality are getting service.”
The Silver Spring system feeds granular information about outages and real time energy use of each luminaire to a central Halifax location, which is outfitted with Silver Spring Streetlight.Vision control software. The city uses the system to control on/off and brightness and other light features for individual lights. It also dispatches maintenance crews in the event of an outage.
Redwood City, CA-based Silver Spring builds its network on Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) technology. It puts a controller on each luminaire, and sends information back and forth via a mesh network of transponders, or “access points.” It also includes GPS capability. “Often a maintenance crew will inadvertently take off one of these units (luminaires) and then maybe put it on a different receptacle, so you’re able to see that through the integrated GPS sensor,” Tippett noted
Halifax is the latest city to tap Silver Spring wireless control technology for LED street lights. Others have included Chicago, San Francisco, Miami (through Florida Power & Light), Paris, Copenhagen, Glasgow, and Bristol, UK. In Massachusetts, the cities of Fitchburg and Randolph are purchasing street lighting as a service using Silver Spring technology.
MARK HALPERis a freelance technology journalist (firstname.lastname@example.org).