Multi-App Smart City Results, Citizen Impact and Opportunity

Posted by CJ Boguszewski | on September 10, 2014 on the Silver Spring Networks corporate blog … reposted here.

You may have seen a couple of weeks ago on SiliconANGLE — mentioned sandwiched between Enlighted raising $20M and the Australian Smart Lighting Summit presentation that I did — that Copenhagen is taking dead aim at carbon neutrality by 2025. Street lighting is key to unlocking the quality of life value for the city, in more ways than one.

Carbon neutrality isn’t really a new goal. Without wanting to get too much into the debate about whether it is a worthy one, what’s clear is that production of electricity to power assets such as street lighting are a major contributor to greenhouse gases. Street lights are also the source of one of the main drains on a city budget, sometimes up to 40% of it.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the debate is the ever-present competition to attract the über-talented “global nomad” whose tent is pitched in one city or another as new job opportunities arise in different markets. Cities compete to become smarter and demonstrate a higher quality of life to the talented workforce — and compete on a global scale. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report goes into great detail about this in its Spatial Adjusted Liveability Index. Suffice it to say that both reducing pollution and the intelligent application of technology to a city’s problems — building a Smart City, as it were — are of paramount importance.

What ties these threads together?

It’s the drive to bring technology to bear on cities most pressing problems.

Copenhagen is leveraging our network — our Internet of Things platform — in partnership with Citelum to achieve its aims. With important characteristics such as a common application layer leveraging CoAP over UDP and DTLS on our end-to-end IPv6, massive machine-to-machine (M2M) network, they are able to distribute intelligence to the edge devices and integrate low-power, efficient sensors simply. Secure interoperation with HTTP and REST is also easy.

While CoAP and MQTT have interesting properties, and benefits and drawbacks that technologists love to debate, what does the previous paragraph mean in practical terms?

Not only can Copenhagen dim its new LEDs, thereby further pushing down carbon consumption in its street lighting footprint, it can detect queue length in the bicycle lane underneath a dimmed LED, and raise the brightness until the traffic signal turns green and the bicyclists pass. Put simply, it’s safer for riders, as well as the pedestrians and motorists around them.

Higher quality of life and lower carbon footprint, both from one network — now that’s more like it. Global nomads, take notice.

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