The Smart City Process Wheel

The Smart City Process Wheel

By Cladian Andugula

Smart City initiatives have people at the centre of the solution, and technology as an enabler to deliver on the cities and communities’ vision and goals. Using a people centric approach with cutting-edge technology; councils, government agencies, institutions, industry experts and organisations can enhance experiences through sustainable solutions across multiple sectors.

According to United Smart Cities (USC) program, the key objectives to a smart city is as follows:

  • Decrease vulnerability of cities to urban migration, demographic changes, environmental degradation and climate change
  • Reduce carbon footprint of cities
  • Enhance the quality of life for inhabitants
  • Improve the environmental quality of the cities
  • Establish public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The first stage then would be to build the foundation for your smart initiative, so the outcome and the benefits you have planned to deliver are clearly defined.

Building empathy

Collaborate with your stakeholders to understand their priorities, needs and wants for the short and long term. It is important to empathise on the outcomes and use cases. Invite problem statements from stakeholders so your Smart City initiatives can be truly people centred, delivering a meaningful experience.

Be open to recommendations and learnings from other Smart City initiatives locally and globally, industry benchmarks and frameworks. People first, and technology second means partnering with a trusted advisor with an evolving technology ecosystem, abreast of industry advancements, trends and upcoming technologies in Smart Cities globally is a must, but more importantly is the alignment and passion for the outcome you are trying to deliver for your stakeholders.

An important piece to the puzzle

Once you understand your stakeholders, refine and finalise your unique use cases. A technology and network agnostic approach will enable the initiative to deliver best in class solutions for the outcomes you are motivated to deliver for your stakeholders. Build a roadmap on how you will meet your goals in the short and long term making the whole process transparent. Applying industry best practice, the solution design should be robust, identifying any constraints so risk can be mitigated early in the process.

Seek and you shall find

Partnership, collaboration and challenging the status-quo should be the driving values of any smart initiative. Promote the entire smart initiative journey to be transparent, which means feedback including criticism and challenge should always be welcomed. This enables the solution to be iterated, delivering refinements, so you can deliver value fast and early to gain buy in for future delivered value. Through collaboration, testing the value of the solutions against the identified outcomes and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) means the journey is clear and consistent. Engagement with the community further promotes the value of the solution you are delivering and allows for an effective narrative to bring stakeholders on a journey. The second stage will apply the insights, research, analysis, solution design and feedback to seamlessly install and commission the smart initiative.

Pedal to the metal!

Leverage a step by step methodological approach to implementation. Be prepared upfront of any unknown risks and delays so they can be mitigated. Be open to learnings from past commissions so best practice is adopted while integrating your smart initiative. Embedding the initiative is an important element, so you are well prepared to take over the solution. This means helping your teams to learn about the solution and it’s potential.

Yin and Yang

Integrate your smart initiative with your existing processes and business procedures. Existing assets like your server may require integration to support the smart initiative. There will be a combination of new and old assets the solution will integrate with and this process should be given the right level of focus, so the entire process is seamless and transparent.

Walk the talk

You need the right support to respond to any questions you may have on your smart initiative. Issues may pop up during the pilot or after a full-scale implementation, you will require certainty that there is support for a seamless operating smart solution. Having a partner who prides themselves on the support and maintenance they can provide will be very important for the success in the operational stages of your Smart City initiative.

Build for the future

Having a Smart initiative which is in the now and able to be updated for the future will be important to gain current and future value on your investment. You will need your partner to periodically check on your devices and network connectivity to enable a seamless operation and experience for your stakeholders. Recommending additional elements to enhance the value your Smart City initiative is delivering, will also be a differentiator in delivering the value for your stakeholders now and into the future.

Written by Cladian Andugula
Solutions Architect SCS

5G – a brave new world, or not?

5G – a brave new world, or not?

By Christian Mildner

5G is a hot topic these days and I often get asked what my thoughts are, what the technology is, and what it will mean for people, cities and our industry. With massive bandwidths and transmission speeds 10-100 times faster as compared to current technologies, it is often predicted that 5G technology will revolutionize cellular networking by enabling many new use cases and applications. It is also likely to alter the traditional ways of how the industry and market work due to new models of network deployment, management and commercialization. Industry bodies, companies and researchers have been working on 5G networks for a long time. But only now, due to some step changes and innovations in underlying technologies has it become possible to move the concept from theory into practical application.

Key technology enablers

Generally speaking, cellular network operators have 3 options to in increase network capacity. They can use available spectrum more efficiently, deploy more and better network infrastructure, or acquire additional spectrum. A combination of all 3 options is used to create the new 5G networks.

Spectrum efficiency is increased by the latest massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology, which allows operators to use multiple antennas simultaneously to increase data throughput. Alongside massive MIMO, beamforming is a new technique where transmission beams are formed and targeted towards the end-device, rather than having a base station that continuously sends out signals over a large area.

Another key aspect of 5G is the extension and alteration of network infrastructure and topology. 5G networks are expected to be significantly denser than current networks and they will be more flexible, scalable and contextually aware than current networks. 5G networks will be able to recognise the different requirements of particular use cases including coverage, mobility, reliability, latency, security, and throughput, and meet these needs according to priority and need.

Importantly, 5G is also going to use a wide range of frequency bands that are currently not being utilised and transmit signals on a whole new swath of the electromagnetic spectrum. These include frequencies above 6 GHz and potentially up to 300 GHz as compared to the bands below 6 GHz that are currently being used. These higher frequencies offer much greater bandwidth than lower frequencies and provide wider channels and faster data rates.

However, there is also a major drawback to these high frequencies, often called “millimeter waves” – they cannot easily travel through buildings or obstacles and they can be absorbed by foliage and rain. This is why 5G networks are going to continue to use current mobile bands, including spectrum below 1 GHz, to provide wide area coverage and in-building penetration, on top of higher frequency bands not used for mobile broadband previously.

It is important to note here that 5G is not one new technology or innovation, rather it is a combination of multiple new and emerging technologies and techniques applied together. The full 5G vision, where all of the new technologies are applied simultaneously with maximum effect, will be a gradual process over multiple years as the technology pieces are put in place by the operators, and they will be driven by use cases and demand from the end customers and the experience gained with the technology in early deployments.

Impact of 5G

The truth is, no one really knows yet what the true impact of 5G will be. It is likely that at the beginning the technology will be available for some very specific use cases only, the ones that exploit its strengths and play down its weaknesses.

The most widely discussed use cases today centre around autonomous driving (becoming significantly enabled by real-time information), manufacturing (shifting into the industry 4.0 age), immersive media (enabled by augmented and mixed reality), and fixed-wireless access (expanding broadband to more homes). However, these are just umbrella topics where the imagination can run wild and it is essential to go deeper to really understand where 5G will make a difference. Timing will be important too as some of the suggested use cases are still 10 or more years away, say fully autonomous driving where a significant amount of new regulations and laws will need to be developed before large numbers of autonomous vehicles can hit our roads.

To explore some of the possibilities and opportunities of 5G, imagine some of the following use cases:

  • A specialist surgeon in the US could operate on a patient in Australia in real time, using robotic hands that follow her movements with remarkable precision and accuracy. She could use her skills augmented further by the robotic arms that keep her movements perfectly steady but also allow her to make real time decisions based on what she sees through her surgical VR headset.
  • Autonomous vehicles could collect huge amounts of data and share it with other cars on the road instantaneously, thereby creating a functional mesh of vehicles where each of them learns through each other. Vehicles are able to move as a swarm, a smart herd, rather than each one trying to work out all of the others motivations and intentions from afar, wasting processing power trying to predict and respond.
  • Drones and robots could become real world avatars for each of us, attending class on our behalf when we are ill. Or on a trip to Machu Pichu, we could take mini vacations through the eyes of the gadgets. We can own a drone or rent one from a squadron using some form of drone sharing system. This will allow us to experience things we could otherwise not, say due to physical impairments or financial or priority based constraints.
  • The Internet of Things is currently limited to relatively low speeds, low power and low data volumes and could grow very quickly with possible use cases exploding. Imagine digital frames replacing windows in our buildings with live, super high resolution feeds from a rain forest or the beach. And smart TVs funnelling nearly unlimited data wirelessly, presenting ultra-high resolution, interactive, live TV via 5G data pipes.
  • Cloud-based processing is predicted to take off too. Imagine video games where all the generating of graphics, the moves and actions a character makes on the screen when the player presses a button, happens in a server farm somewhere on the other side of the world and the information is delivered wirelessly to our screens, so quickly that we don’t notice this was not done locally on our machines at home. It is instant and the controller at home is purely an access point for the gaming resources, rather than containing these resources itself.

Extrapolating this concept further, consider mobile phones. Rather than cramming super high end computer chips in our mobile handsets, what if we could primarily use them as access points for computing resources that are located elsewhere. This would increase a mobile’s battery life by days, while simultaneously increasing computing power because it can simply reach out to cloud-based processors through a 5G data tunnel and take as much computing power as it needs, when it needs it. All the computing would be done on remote server farms and the output is simply delivered to our screens without any perceivable lack in transmission.

In fact, we could reach a point where all of our devices are simply screens with cellular antennas, plugged into 5G data pipes connecting them to super computers in giant warehouses, and we just tap into them when we need them, whatever we need them for, at whatever scale of power we need in the moment, for our particular shell of a device. A compelling concept, especially as we are running into hard limitations of microprocessor components and battery technologies.

However, it is not all positive news and exciting possibilities. There are also some legitimate concerns around 5G technology, for example that it has the potential to widen the gap between urban and rural dwellers, which already experience stark differences, including access to today’s high speed internet. In fact, there are still huge swathes of Australia and elsewhere in the world that do not have cellular network coverage at all.

Another trend to watch is that mobile network operators are turning themselves into media and IoT data companies, diversifying away from being simply big pipes delivering data to users. They increasingly try to create and sell unique content on top of their network services, like a Netflix or Spotify, amongst other things to recoup the massive investments they make in 5G networks. The concern here is that if net neutrality rules are not enforced, these network operators could negatively impact the quality of their competition’s offering to encourage customers to use their own, something that has already happened in the past when net neutrality rules were not enforced.

Conclusion

After much noise and many years of research 5G seems to be finally happening. And it has the potential for significant change in not just technology, but in society, because of all the secondary effects of the revolution in a structural backbone piece of technology upon which we all have come to rely in countless, often invisible ways.

5G could be the innovation of the decade, however it could also remain a niche option, definitely interesting for some specific use cases like autonomous vehicles, but beyond those not relevant for most people most of the time. It could prove to be just another upgrade, or shift, but not as relevant to the masses as is currently being predicted. After all, many of the revolutionary predictions are being made by companies that have some stake in this technology doing well.

I say let us stay optimistic and explore the possibilities but also keep expectations moderated and proceed with caution.

Written by Christian Mildner
Solutions Architect SCS

SCS PARTNERS WITH iOMNISCIENT TO MAKE CITIES SAFER

SCS PARTNERS WITH iOMNISCIENT TO MAKE CITIES SAFER

MAKECITIESSAFER

Only a city that has the ability to deal with complex behaviours in crowds, while ensuring privacy and optimising safety, security, & operational efficiency can have the tag of being a smart city. In-order to carry out any major initiative, a city must first ensure the safety and security of its citizens.

Today, in the age of digital transformation, artificial intelligence walks hand in hand with safety and security. Artificial intelligence has numerous applications in the development of a smart city, and AI for safety & security is one of the key tools used to proactively act against criminals and known terrorist. There are innumerable areas where AI can be implemented to develop safer and happier cities. So, let’s have a look at how AI is being actively integrated with safety policies and crime prevention.

 

SAFETY AS A PRIORITY

Citizen safety is one of the primary KPIs that gives a city the tag of being a smart city. A person can live their best life when they know they safe and secure. In an era of digital transformation, AI is the primary tool creating a safety shield for cities. Today, advanced video analytics, on the backbone of Artificial Intelligence has the capabilities to detect fights, slip & falls, unidentified abandoned objects, recognise known suspects and terrorist, along innumerable more applications in crowded and complex scenes. AI is the 21st century safety net that drives cities into improving their existing infrastructure and services by harnessing the powers of intelligent technology and data analytics.

An integrated network of intelligent systems that captures public safety information and responds to real-time events effectively can make a city a safe one. These systems that use AI can predict and prevent any kind of suspicious or malicious activities happening or going to happen in the city limits. Thus, making automated response systems an integral factor in smart cities.

 

  • CRIME DETECTION

Sophisticated multi-sensory AI based analytics can help understand behaviour and situations to detect criminal activities. For instance, using convergent AI technology iOmniscient systems can detect gun violence. It then sends alerts to the smart phone of the nearest appropriate first responder regarding the gunshot fired with a video of what’s happened & allows the officer to jump-to-event.

 

In a normal situation, it would be difficult for the police to find out the exact location of gunshot immediately and evaluate the gravity of the situation. This is where iOmniscient’s advanced video analytic surveillance technology helps comes into play. The system sends a video on the police’s smart phone along with the GPS location of the event, and simultaneously enrols the faces of the persons present in the scene into its system. This enables the officers to be proactive, & also facilitates forensic investigations. According to a shotspotter report, 80% of gun violence is never reported or accurately identified. This solution helps resolve this critical problem.

 

  • CRIME PREVENTION

One of the earliest form of AI for safety was introduced in 1995 by the NYPD, called CompStat. This was the first ever predictive policing tool that had been used. Since 2001, iOmniscient, a global AI based advanced video analytics software provider has been developing tools that help prevent crimes. These proactive tools are being deployed by government agencies around the world to arrest known suspects and terrorist before they can commit the crime. The system is built on the foundation of hybrid AI, by combining Heuristic + Neural Network/ Deep Learning + Active/ Guided Learning algorithms resulting in fast & accurate results with minimal computing infrastructure.

 

  • FINDING LOST CHILDREN

Helping to find lost and stolen children is now a major societal challenge. iOmniscient’s face recognition in a crowd system is an important tool in the arsenal of Police Agencies confronted with this problem.

 

  • PRIVACY PROTECTION

A primary concern with smart business analytics and video surveillance is the privacy of citizens. With the Facebook data scandal making the rounds, the fears of citizens’ right to privacy is ever growing. iOmniscient understands this and therefore, it’s video analytics system is designed in a manner than protects privacy of individuals by redacting faces, and only allowing access to them with a special key that can be used by authorised personals in emergency situations.

What are smart cities to you?

What are smart cities to you?

By Christian Mildner

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What are smart cities to you? This is a question that I get asked often and it is a difficult one to answer because in fact, it can be many things. And which city wants to be dumb, anyways.

Google returns 300+ million search results for this question, so there is no shortage of answers. If anything, it shows that “smart cities” can mean many different things to people in different countries and cultures. It will most likely also depend on the context in which the question is asked, but this gets even more confusing.

From my viewpoint, which I must admit is shaped by my role working for a technology company in this space, a “smart” city is one that uses different types of devices and existing data repositories to collect and supply information, which is then used to manage assets and resources efficiently and effectively. Or in other words, smart cities are about combining technology and ubiquitous connectivity to harness data and derive insights for better decision-making.

But most importantly, smart cities are people focused! Making a city smarter is all about improving people’s experiences of a city so that it better meets their needs.

Following on from this thought, this article introduces a slightly different way of defining smart cities – that is, by comparison with the human body. Because metaphorically speaking, human bodies and cities have a lot in common:

  • In cities, buildings are where the activities take place, where people live and work and socialise. In the body, this is done by our muscles and skeletal system, which enable us to move and live and breath.
  • In cities, we have greenery and parks, which clean the air and provide oxygen. In the body, this is done by our lungs.
  • In cities, we have roads that move traffic, people and goods. In the body, that is done by our arteries.

There are many more comparisons like these, but the point is that what makes our bodies really “smart” is our 5 senses. We can see, hear, smell, touch and taste to collect information about our environment. This information is continuously flowing through our nervous system, a network of nerve cells and fibres, which processes the information and transmits nerve impulses between parts of our body.

This constant data collection and information processing allows us to continuously adapt to changing environments – i.e. when it gets cold we start shivering (i.e. our muscles start twitching to produce heat) and when we get hot we start sweating (i.e. our body tries to cool us down). We sneeze when dust enters our nose and there are lots of other examples where our senses trigger meaningful actions, reactively and proactively. And a lot of these things are in fact triggered subconsciously and are driven by our body’s “operating system” rather than a well-defined thought and decision-making process in our brains.

Circling back to a “smart” city and my earlier interpretation of the term, this sensing is done by a network of electronic sensors collecting different types of data from a variety of sources, which is then transmitted through networks and combined and processed in platforms and applications, providing actionable information. Adding to this, data can be pulled into the same platforms and applications from other external sources, e.g. social networks, apps or existing data repositories like public transport or healthcare records.

This data in combination with the right applications and systems allows cities to adapt to changing circumstances in real time, like our bodies, either through automated (subconscious) or “human” (conscious) decision-making. If set up properly, such systems will also allow cities to learn continuously from their past inputs, actions and outcomes and to improve the way they interpret information.

Importantly, no process, system and application should work in isolation. In our bodies, the nervous system combines the data input from all 5 senses continuously in real time and overlays past experiences when interpreting information and making decisions about how to act, e.g. whether to feel cold or hot, shiver or sweat, or better not touch a hot item because we have learned that it causes injury and pain.

And I think that this is the ultimate goal and definition of a smart city: A city that collects and combines relevant data and knowledge and applies well-designed interpretation processes in a never-ending, self-reinforcing feedback loop that continuously grows and improves – just like our bodies do when we interpret and act on information provided by our senses.

Written by Christian Mildner
Solutions Architect SCS

Does a Smart City provide the solution for Urban Gridlock?

Does a Smart City provide the solution for Urban Gridlock?

By Duane Shore

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Stuck in the gridlock of a peak hour commute in the nation’s most populated city and my GPS unit struggles to highlight alternate routes to my destination. None of the suggested alternatives shave off anything more than a few precious moments. And besides, the traffic ahead is going nowhere. Granted time to regard my immediate surrounds, I observe the dormant lighting poles lining the road, fixtures and wires that stand, proud and silent.

An aging HID luminaire stares down blankly at me. In the cold hard light of day, its warming sodium glow is unneeded. Indeed, later, when the sun disappears beyond the horizon of the urban sprawl, it will slowly creep into life but for now, it does nothing but adorn the roadside. An expensive piece of infrastructure, doing nothing to contribute to or lessen the daily grind.

Smart city strategies are currently being employed to turn such infrastructure into useful data capture points. If the poles lining the stretch of road upon which I now sit were equipped with sensors, they could capture the complexities of why the current thoroughfare is currently blocked. That data, collected daily and processed appropriately, could contribute to trend identification of the traffic flow on this road. This information, collected en masse over time, could help city planners, road and transport infrastructure management to identify ways to remove the gridlock.

The modern traffic control centres that oversee traffic management in our major cities are highly dynamic with operators relying on various tools and information sources to do their work. Loop detectors are exploited to reap the value of the data they provide, enabling near-real-time and historical traffic pattern analysis. Such technology has been traditionally employed to control traffic lights. Operators also rely on visual camera feeds, as well as their own substantial experience and intuition, to manage day-to-day traffic. A frequent task for the control centre is to manipulate traffic light priorities to ease congestion. During morning and evening rush hours, operators adjust lights to respond to the traffic volume. City planners similarly rely on reports of the data captured during these time to generate visual artifacts to help with their analysis and future planning.

Apply smart sensors to the existing infrastructure and you instantly increase your data collection points. The analysis of the data collected on urban traffic and mobility could be of interest to multiple stakeholders. Transport operators, environmental agencies, planners, and city councils are but a few. Transitioning to smart city traffic monitoring isn’t just a matter of applying technology, but it involves input from multiple organizations and stakeholders all of whom would benefit from the access to data.

 

But the real benefits aren’t to be realized from simply having access to more data. Rather, the real benefits lie in the type of data that smart-enabled infrastructures can capture.

A crucial characteristic of smart city technologies is that they can sense individual entities, such as devices. And by being able to track individual entities across the network courtesy of smart enabled poles, planners can see ‘point to point’ movements that can help them model better traffic flows and optimize planning.

As each smart device has its own unique ID, a pole equipped with a networked sensor device can detect the movement and action of an individual vehicle. Although many public transport authorities track their fleets in real time, this isn’t the case for individuals’ vehicles. Such sensing is an important advantage, and enables a range of potential applications and analytical tools.

Operators who have relied on camera feeds because of their live and direct nature, unfortunately can’t track an individual across multiple locations and camera feeds. Networked smart poles thus provide a way to create a ‘finegrain’ replay of traffic flows across the city.

Wi-Fi mobility traces identify devices detected at a particular location during a selected time frame. The system may then identify for each device the ultimate location where it was seen during the time window. Analysts can then create a visual representation of how individuals at a particular location move whilst also highlighting large-scale patterns.

With their ability to differentiate between individual entities, smart technologies should also be able to operate in a real- or near-real-time fashion. Smart city sensing can potentially match the realism and ‘tacitness’ of having a camera feed.

So, does a smart city provide the solution for urban gridlock?

The smart technologies that can be fitted to even existing infrastructure certainly provide a way to collect more exacting data that will equip better decision making. That is good for both traffic management operators and commuters alike. And any assistance that be given to city planners is a positive move in helping alleviate traffic congestion across our increasingly busy road networks.

Written by Duane Shore
National Marketing Manager, Roadway & Infrastructure

Motion-based lighting aims to brighten Australia & New Zealand smart cities

Motion-based lighting aims to brighten Australia & New Zealand smart cities

October 2018 | Press 

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Comlight AS announces that Sylvania Connected Solutions has been appointed distributor for its motion-based street lighting systems. Sylvania Connected Solutions is part of Gerard Lighting, who are the largest lighting manufacturer and distributor in the combined Australian and New Zealand markets. 

Comlight provides the Eagle Eye product range, utilizing advanced radar detectors and inter-pole communication giving pedestrians and drivers light when and where it is needed. The system is optimized for energy-saving LED street lights. The system includes optional power measurement, GPS support, traffic counting and speed detection functions.

“Having Sylvania Connected Solutions as the Comlight partner for the Australian and New Zealand markets is a perfect match”, says Siri. B. Damsleth, CEO of Comlight. “Our products save energy while reducing negative environmental impacts, and we already have thousands of systems installed in Europe. We have great expectations for Motion Sensing Lighting Systems in Australia and New Zealand. Sylvania Connected Solutions has a well-developed distribution network, and we could not have wished for a better partner.”

“Sylvania Connected Solutions is privileged to be a partner for this leading Innovative, technology company from Europe” says George Verghese, Business Manager for Sylvania Connected Solutions. “This is our endeavor to bring the best of class in technology and innovation to our Smart Cities clients in Australia and New Zealand. We are already in the process of installing these systems at three different locations”

Comlight AS offers advanced and reliable motion sensing street lighting system. Comlight has already won a number of prizes for innovation and has garnered significant media coverage. Several thousand systems are already running in real life installations, giving us the experience to offer a robust, reliable and unique solution.

With a solid foundation of 40+ years in the Australian market and a global heritage streching back over a century, Sylvania Connected Solutions was born with a founding vision of transforming cities into smarter, more liveable communities. With a proven track record of being able to switch on a city and give it smarts, their cancopy of intelligent IOT Devices, systems and technologies deliver high value solutions that address urban challenges, drive economic progress, improve liveability and provide an ongoing return on Investment.

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Smart technology through my lens

Smart technology through my lens

By Ankur Walia

Smart technology is quickly becoming a buzz word and everyone is talking about it. Individuals have started making their Homes into a Smart Environment space, whether managing their lighting, entertainment, security or gaming experience. Corporates are turning their infrastructure Smarter. Councils and government are in the process of getting Smart capabilities, enabling them to get better control over their city assets.

With this article, I would like to start with best practices to transition from a traditional model onto a Smart City Environment, and moving forward, discuss an overview of Network topologies that are available today.

The first step towards building a Smart network block, is building a trust relationship between the Service Provider, Hardware Vendor and software provider, integrating their services together and thus building a reliable and strong Network.

As Steve mentions in his article (Alexander, 2017): The rush to creating a smart city is understandable; it’s simply a better way for a city to operate. But it’s worth taking a step back, looking at the fundamentals and determining if we know what we are trying to accomplish with “smart.” Ensuring, first and foremost, that everything can work together, that we have the needed topology of connectivity, and that we have the capacity available to keep it working. Otherwise, while the smart city of tomorrow might be smarter than most, we’ll always be left wondering if we left some intelligence in the tank.

It is always a best practice to take advice from Consultants, who would bring in their skills and expertise to bridge the gap, between the various stakeholders. This approach limits the number of point of contacts for the Council or Municipalities, and makes them adopt multi-vendor products to a single network. Consulting also helps finding a feasible and a flexible approach for the transition, as they would work with multiple vendors simultaneously and will advise suitable hardware which can best fits the environment.

Network Topology plays a vital part to build a robust and cost effective Smart infrastructure. A smart city requires a strong and reliable communication network.

Consideration for Network Topologies is very important, as this builds the back bone for the Smart City Infrastructure. There are few questions to be considered before deciding on the right network topology that should be used in this instance. How many devices do I need to connect? What should be the range of my network? What is the topography of the region? Is it mostly a one-way communication or is it always a two-way communication? What is the size of the data to be transferred?

Below are 2 best available network topologies, that can help transition to Smart City.

1. Mesh Topology:

In its simplest form, Mesh network works similar to Chinese whispers, a game where message is sent from one to another after whispering from one person to another. Gateway or an Access Point replaces the First person sending a message and all the other connected nodes pass the message until it reaches the destination. The message is securely encrypted when passed. Industry standards (Brian Ray, 2018)using Mesh are Zigbee, Z-wave and Thread

2. Star Network:

This is the most commonly used network. In Star Network Gateway or an Access Point acts as a centralized hub connected to all terminal nodes. This Gateway act as a common connection point for all other connected Nodes.

Each Node has a secured encrypted connection to the gateway. One of the industrial standard is LPWAN (low Power Wide Ares Network) Smart technology has now a choice, however following a guided Roadmap can benefit smooth transition from a traditional approach to building a Smart environment. Scope and fundamentals should be carefully considered before implementing the network.

Clients are investing a lot on transitioning and building smart environment, to achieve energy efficient and cost effective solution, however if the infrastructure is not carefully built it can lead to more investment. Therefore, consulting experts, is always a Smarter choice.

At Sylvania Connected Solutions (SCS), we source multiple technologies to suit different client environments, whether these are networks, devices or platforms, and have the skills and expertise to help organizations achieve their goals in transforming Cities into a Smart environment.

References Alexander, S. (2017, July 5). Making smart cities a smarter way. Retrieved from Network World: https://www.networkworld.com/article/3210747/sensors/making-smart-cities-a-smarter-way.html Brian Ray. (2018, January 9). Comparing Mesh, Star & Point-To-Point Topology In IoT Networking. Retrieved from Link Labs: https://www.link-labs.com/blog/iot-topology

Written by Ankur Walia
Network Engineer SCS

SCS is privileged to be part of ASCA and IoTA

SCS is privileged to be part of ASCA and IoTA

Smart Cities are an emerging concept in the new digital world, connecting cities and their communities through the use of digital and telecommunication technologies. Urbanisation is on the rise, and by 2050 over 70% of the world’s developed and developing populations will live in urbanised areas. There is already an increased demand for intelligent, sustainable environments that offer its citizens a high quality of life.

New initiatives and learnings are being introduced almost every day and Cities and regional towns are going through a process of learning to use data for better efficiency gains and resource utilisations.

Smart City Associations and other IoT organisations through their multi-faceted approach help cities in creating vision, leadership, innovative actions and insights to realise their dream of turning   data and its outcomes into benefits for their stakeholders and their citizens.

These associations connect thought leaders from the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors   to provide the momentum required to speed up the uptake of technology innovations in the urban environments.

Sylvania Connected Solutions is privileged to be part of ASCA and IoTAA, as we journey into this new world working together with partners from around the globe to bring in these Smart solutions into the Australian and New Zealand markets.

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A vision-driven approach to change the perspective on “Smart” Street Lighting

A vision-driven approach to change the perspective on “Smart” Street Lighting

By Christian Mildner

Energy efficient LED street lighting is often seen to be a low hanging fruit of energy efficiency projects. The energy savings and emission reductions that can be generated by upgrading to LEDs are substantial and paybacks and financial returns for projects are usually very attractive.

Street lighting upgrades have been implemented in Australia for several years now and most LED lights that have been installed are smart-enabled. But controls have still not been adopted at scale, even though they offer many opportunities to generate additional energy savings, improve asset management and to support other smart city use cases.

This is due to multiple reasons, which are commonly known in the industry and are not subject of this article. For example, often the benefits for asset management do not flow through to Councils because most of their lights are maintained by the utilities. And because most street lights are classified as “unmetered loads”, additional energy savings from dimming and trimming strategies cannot be captured, plus there are various issues to be addressed around compliance with standards. Many of these challenges are currently being addressed and worked through by industry stakeholders and it seems solutions for some of them are not far away.

However, there is still a strong case to invest into street lighting controls now when considering the role a controls system could play in the broader smart cities ecosystem. In fact, a recent paper published by CSIRO’s Data61* suggests that smart cities need a more “vision-driven” as opposed to “problem-driven” approach and that smart cities should in fact be looked at as jigsaw puzzles. Every project and implementation of a solution places a puzzle piece in its rightful place of the big picture (the vision), even though for now, many other pieces don’t yet exist. By contrast, a “problem-driven” approach focuses on technology first and naturally results in fragmentation and walled gardens of solutions that do not interoperate together. Applying this approach to street lighting controls, the missing puzzle pieces could be the solutions to the earlier mentioned challenges, e.g. regulatory reform. And they could be other smart applications, which in combination create new and value-adding use cases when lighting is in fact used for its primary purpose: Visibility, visual cues, safety and security.

For example, imagine the following use cases: –

  • You park your car at the site of the road, the street lights adjacent to the parking spot increase the light levels around you. You feel safe, and your car is protected while it is parked out on the street.
  • Street lights indicate available parking spots to you, e.g. by changing colour, flashing, or by providing other visual signals.
  • An accident happens on the road at night, the street lights brighten the scene for helpers and provide visual cues to alert other drivers and pedestrians to the danger, e.g. by flashing a few hundred meters before the crash site.
  • Video analytics from CCTV provide triggers for lighting scenes that deter criminal offenders, e.g. when fights break out at night. This could include scenes such as increased light levels or flashing lights.
  • Lighting could also be used for crime prevention, e.g. video analytics can identify persons of interest or loitering, in which case lights can shine brighter to deter people from hanging around and make passer-by’s feel safer.

Because street lighting is ubiquitous in urban areas and lighting at night time is extremely visible, the opportunities to combine a controls systems with other applications to create new and innovative use cases is sheer endless.

Circling back to the “vision-driven” approach and jigsaw puzzle analogy, street lighting controls, like other smart city applications, should be viewed as a system within a system, and only one element in a smart city’s foundation to support a multitude of higher level goals.

As such, Councils should always give careful consideration to include a controls system when upgrading their street lights and to address the problems “here and now” with solutions that contribute to the vision of an ideal integrated future in the longer term. Do not miss the opportunity to place another puzzle piece where it rightfully belongs in the big picture.

*Future Cities and Communities by Design, April 18
Written by Christian Mildner
Solutions Architect SCS