Smart lighting is making a huge difference to the energy budget of local authorities. Dr Jon Lewis sets out the next set of cloud-based applications which will have an equally positive impact on city operations.
Due to its solid financial case and reliable technology, smart lighting has been a real success story with a vibrant eco-system of suppliers. With the success of smart lighting, all of us thought that there would be a wave of new sensing applications and our cities would become fully digitised. It didn’t happen that way.
As with many new technologies, the evolution path that everybody expects fails to appear, and it is only later that solutions that really work for end-users start to emerge. When smart phones arrived, the perceived wisdom was that voice calls would be replaced by mobile video calls. Luckily, we don’t all find ourselves walking down the street, phones outstretched making video calls. Instead, it transpired that the smart phone was the perfect device for sharing amusing pet moments with our social circle.
It was six years between 3G mobile data services arriving in 2001 and the iPhone launching in 2007 before we started to see the real power of the smart phone. A similar delay between initial expectations and solutions with real value is happening with smart cities.
Approaches that didn’t scale
Before looking at how the real promise of smart cities is being realised, let’s look at two approaches that on the face of it seemed promising but proved not to be the key elements that cities were looking for.
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