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LEDs

City lights collect city data

Published 2014-03-26

Sensity Systems’ (USA) Light Sensory Network (LSN) takes advantage of LED lighting conversions. The network enhances energy efficiency while transforming luminaires into data collectors: the lighting infrastructure can be used to enable applications such as parking management, weather monitoring, public safety, retail analytics, and others.

The network can sense automobiles and people in a parking lot or parking garage (Photo: Sensity)

THE LIGHTING NETWORK IS BUILT ON OPEN STANDARDS and combines energy efficient lighting with a set of sensors that offer several options to the end customer, such as energy monitoring, adaptive controls, temperature, and more. To create LSNs, the company provides networked LED lights and retrofit kits that replace high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures. LSNs turn LED luminaires into networked, sensor-equipped devices capable of capturing and transmitting sensory big data from the surrounding environment into a variety of applications and services.

Because each of these devices has an IP address, each lighting fixture becomes a node in a broadband, carrier-grade network. Each one of the sensor nodes supports an open interface by which additional sensors can be integrated.
CAN is one of the sensor protocols that is supported on the platform. Since CAN is a well-known option for controlling multiple sensors, the applications available through sensors that support the CAN-network are varied. Such applications include temperature measurement across a specified region, predictive changes in humidity, asset management by monitoring vehicles in a given zone, and warning signals when that zone is violated. All of that data from the sensors traverses the lighting infrastructure via the LSN platform and is accessible by the end customer. Possible applications mentioned by the company include sensing automobiles and people in a parking lot or parking garage for security or parking management, tracking goods shipped in and out of a facility, retail customer analytics, and monitoring environmental conditions. If you think on a grander scale, in a city equipped with this system traffic jams could be recorded, analyzed, and hopefully avoided in the future, snowplows could be sent directly to where they are needed the most, and traffic wardens might become superfluous.

LEDs can collectively gather and process data about the surrounding environment (Photo: Sensity)

Light Sensory Network platform

The company’s Netsense platform integrates LED lighting, sensors, high-speed networking, cloud computing and big data analytics into a single platform with distributed intelligence. Each LED lamp is equipped with sensors and a fully functioning processor able to run software instructions. When networked together, these lamps collectively gather and process data about the surrounding environment, enabling analytics that transform the raw data into actionable information. The networked LEDs also deliver energy savings— according to the company, approximately 80 % with LED lighting alone and approximately 90 % with LED lighting plus networking, compared to fluorescent or HID lighting.

(Photo: Sensity)

The end-point sends data across the network to a gateway, where the WAN interface to the cloud can be cellular-based, use existing municipal or metro Wifi, or an existing broadband network. The company has also created Sensapps applications and services that run on Netsense.

"Cities and towns everywhere tell us they’re looking for ways to lower their energy costs and at the same time provide services more efficiently," said Jim Davis, president of Chevron Energy Solutions, a Sensity. "Sensity offers a way for cities to both cut their energy use and build an innovative information network to make their services more efficient, and we are excited about the opportunity to explore these possibilities together."