Philips Lighting will supply network technology for Los Angeles LED street lights

April 8, 2015
The installation will use the Philips CityTouch management platform to control the Los Angeles street light inventory with a wireless node installed on luminaires regardless of the original manufacturer of the luminaire.

The installation will use the Philips CityTouch management platform to control the Los Angeles street light inventory with a wireless node installed on luminaires regardless of the original manufacturer of the luminaire.

Philips Lighting has announced that the City of Los Angeles will use the Philips CityTouch platform to manage the world's largest street light inventory, both for adaptive control of the predominantly LED lighting and for automation of maintenance operations. Evidently, the Philips approach includes the development of a wireless node that can be installed at each fixture, regardless of the manufacturer of the luminaires, with the node leveraging existing mobile wireless networks.

The announcement was curious in that Philips is at least the third company to announce an engagement with Los Angeles on networked street lights. At LightFair International in 2013, GE Lighting said it would supply Los Angeles with network nodes within the GE LightGrid platform. GE had planned to rely on a 6LoWPAN wireless network to link the street lights. And earlier, Los Angeles had been working with the Acuity Roam wireless network.

Based on the Philips announcement, it appears that the earlier work with network technology represented limited trials. "We piloted several solutions over the last year and decided to implement CityTouch as it required no further investment or intervention in our infrastructure," said Ed Ebrahimian, director of the Bureau of Street Lighting for the City of Los Angeles.

Certainly the use of the existing mobile wireless infrastructure would simplify installation of a wireless network. The mobile radios would cost more than the radios for a low-power mesh network. But the mobile approach eliminates the need for the city to install additional routers and gateways to the mesh network, and the backhaul to an IP-based network.

The mobile nodes will attach to the street lights via the standard NEMA connector that is place on virtually every outdoor area light for photocell control. Almost all street lights can respond to on/off controls via that connector and newer models can also respond to dimming controls.

Philips said the CityTouch platform is installed in 31 countries around the globe, but that the Los Angeles project will be the first instance in which the CityTouch connector node, which seems to lack an official brand name or model number at this point, has been deployed. The wireless node will allow the city to control the lights, monitor the operational and power consumption of each lights, and direct crews automatically when repair is required.

"LA has more LED street lights than any other city in America, with about 7,500 centerline miles," said Ebrahimian. "This required a solution that would allow us to remotely control street lights and accurately report how much energy each light is consuming, while also being easy to install and flexible enough to adapt to broader Smart City plans."

"Philips CityTouch supports Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets program by taking the management of LED street lighting to the next level, increasing safety through uptime, ensuring better visibility, and providing the capability to further adapt lighting to the needs of a particular neighborhood," said Amy Huntington, president of Philips Lighting Americas. "Not only does better lighting management support the city’s energy efficiency initiatives, but it has a beneficial effect on the streetscape, contributing to more vibrant and engaged communities."

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.