Companies team to develop plug-and-play IoT LED streetlight controller

Smart city solutions provider Urban Control, in partnership with Nordic Semiconductor, has developed a plug-and-play IoT LED streetlight luminaire controller that it claims can make any city ‘instantly’ smart.

Set for initial deployment in April 2022, the companies report the Urban Node 324 Cellular is straightforward to deploy and can scale cost-effectively from one streetlight to millions.

Luminaire controllers

The city streetlight LED luminaire controllers each include Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF9160 multi-mode NB-IoT/LTE-M system-in-package (SiP) and plug into an industry-standard Zhaga LED lighting socket.

They then connect over the local cellular IoT network allowing them to be remotely controlled by any smart city central management system (CMS) based on the common Talq standard.

By using standard cellular technology Urban Node 324 Cellular works straight out of the box, just like a mobile phone. This makes it cost-effective for small and distributed lighting estates to get the benefits of intelligent central control for the first time. Examples might include streetlights in retail parks, hotel chains, office and warehouse developments, and across rail infrastructure such as stations, car parks and good yards.

“Unlike traditional smart city lighting installations that require a specialised network to be built, the Urban Node 324 Cellular works straight out-of-the-box just like a smartphone,” said Miguel Lira, Urban Control’s innovation and development director.

“This makes it commercially and technologically viable for any size installation because it does not require the operator to build their own wireless IoT network or become a wireless IoT network operator themselves. This brings all of the benefits of smart lighting to small clusters of streetlights all the way up to massive, multi-million node capital city-sized installations. This is truly a game changer in the smart city streetlighting industry.”

Urban Control reports the 324 cellular controllers deliver all the benefits of smart city LED street lighting, including:

the ability to precisely control brightness and thus energy consumption and costs depending on actual local conditions
the ability to dynamically respond to sudden changes in pedestrian numbers or road traffic
the ability to monitor energy consumption in real-time
and the ability to identify and even pre-empt faults and precisely target maintenance crews – again reducing operating costs and unnecessary maintenance via environmentally-polluting, service-van inspections.

“Now that the potential and value of smart city applications has been successfully demonstrated, the time has come to begin developing resources that will allow towns and cities to deploy these technologies at scale quickly and affordably,” said Lorenzo Amicucci, business development manager at Nordic Semiconductor.

“Moving away from proprietary solutions towards devices which are ready straight out of the box and leverage cellular networks that are already deployed in every town, city and significant population centre around the world, devices like Urban Node 324 can make anywhere smart more quickly and for less cost.”

Urban Control provides solutions to make infrastructure assets intelligent, including: streetlights that sense their environment and adapt to citizen’s needs; rail stations that guide people safely to their destination; and sensors that monitor the safety and condition of highway assets.

Nordic Semiconductor is a fabless semiconductor company specialising in ultra-low power wireless technology for the IoT.



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