A pioneering conference coming to Dubai this March will explore how smart lighting solutions - driven by the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the lighting sector - are on the way to the UAE as the country pursues its aim of developing smart cities.
The one-day conference focusing on IoT lighting – the first of its kind in the region – will be part of the expansive knowledge programme of Middle East Electricity, the world’s largest annual power industry trade platform.
The conference will debut on the show’s first day – Tuesday, March 5th– at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) with experts from the Middle East, South America, Europe, India and the USA probing the advances possible from leveraging IoT within the lighting sector and its ability to transform lifestyles.
Smart street lighting is emerging as a key theme with speakers predicting its impact on the MENA region as the role of lighting evolves from merely illuminating highways to providing social, environmental and operational cost benefits.
Speaking ahead of the event, Scott Fennelly, Director of Transportation at UAE-based Solutions Mobility Consultants, believes the benefits for the Emirates are multi-faceted.
“Further enhancements to already innovative smart street lighting solutions can assist in developing truly Smart Cities,” explained Fennelly. “These solutions will improve the environment and the sustainability of cities, provide added benefits for the public, and reduce the costs associated with maintenance for various authorities and developers.”
Smart street lights, adds Fennelly, will be perfect bases to collect vital data about urban traffic, pollution, weather conditions and people flow.Looking further ahead, advanced IoT technologies could see future pedestrians generate power by walking on pressure-sensor footpaths and even the introduction of navigational headsets which will allow the visually impaired to use sensors in lamp-posts to help them ‘hear’ their surroundings as a 3D soundscape.
“The introduction of smart and intelligent lighting systems and future technology goes far beyond the possibility of powering street lighting with renewable energy. Through integrated IoT platforms and the use of Big Data, authorities can mine invaluable data which will assist in reducing the city’s carbon footprint, maintenance costs, energy consumption and providing a more sustainable city. Smart street lighting areas can also be used to recharge electric vehicles, offer hotspots for WiFi connections, charge hubs for the public within walkable areas, or provide elements of smart way-finding by pushing notifications to phone applications which improve the public’s lifestyles and provide easier access to services,” said Fennelly.
Conference delegates will also hear of the challenges faced, lessons learned and technical responses to a project in Buenos Aires, which deployed over 150,000 LED luminaires with Smart control to drastically raise the uptime of its public lighting infrastructure while lowering the maintenance and electricity costs. The project, says speaker Pablo Servent, the CEO of Argentina’s Smartmation, signals the arrival of Smart City lighting as the new norm.
“There is general awareness that making an efficient use of energy is mandatory to protect the environment. Taking into account that public street lighting is a substantial part of the electricity expenditure of cities, we believe that the adoption of smart street lighting, and other eco-friendly systems will become a standard,” explained Servent.
The Tungsram-sponsored conference comes as lighting systems, both interior and exterior, emerge as key IoT infrastructure with LEDs becoming equipped with data-collecting sensors.