iPads to make street lights smarter

Bright idea: Smart street lights controlled by iPad
Bright idea: Smart street lights controlled by iPad
Smart streetlights which can be controlled by an iPad and tell technicians when they are broken or need replacing are to be installed right across central London.
Following a successful pilot scheme Westminster City Council will make all 14,000 of its street lights smart over the next four years.

There has been much debate around the UK about switching off street lights to save energy and costs, but this was not considered appropriate for Westminster, so an alternative, or ‘third way’, variable lighting solution has been found.

The council says roll-out means an initial £3.25m investment which will be recouped through energy and maintenance savings within seven years, and the technology will go on saving council tax payers £420,000 a year from 2015/16 onwards.

Cllr Ed Argar, cabinet member for city management, said: “This provides people in Westminster with the light they require to feel secure and continue to function safely in a 24-hour city.

“But it also will reduce our energy bill by nearly £1million every two years. A huge saving that we can pass onto the taxpayer.” 

For the first time in the UK a system is electronically monitoring lights and infrastructure – if a bulb needs changing or a wire is broken the system will be able to detect it so an engineer can be dispatched. The system even has the ability to predict when a lamp is likely to fail.

It also carries a function for brightness levels to be lowered or raised at the touch of a button, even from an engineer standing under the lamp column with an iPad and a corresponding application.