Smart streetlights may mean big savings in Cardiff

Smart streetlights to save Cardiff City Council £750,000 a year

Cardiff Council is nearing completion of its deployment of a connected lighting system using LED streetlights technology from Philips Lighting.

Street lighting is a significant expense for local authorities, but in Cardiff, Wales, the city council is deploying a connected lighting system from Philips Lighting that official claims will save over £750,000 a year and reduce energy use for public lighting by 60 percent.

The project involves the installation of more than 14,000 connected LED streetlights, organized as a scalable digital infrastructure that can be augmented and upgraded over time.

For example, the streetlights could be equipped with sensors to monitor traffic flow, noise levels and air pollution in the future.

Read more: Smart lights ‘to be most popular IoT device in the next decade’ – Philips

Central control

The LED lighting is monitored and controlled remotely using the Philips CityTouch system for public lighting management.

Launched in 2012, this is apparently the 1,000th deployment of CityTouch, which is used in 37 countries worldwide. Cardiff is joining cities such as Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Jakarta, Los Angeles and Toronto as a CityTouch customer.

With this system, the entire lighting network can be accessed and managed remotely. Accessed through a web browser, the lighting manager has multiple screens and a map-based view of the city’s lighting assets and workflows. They can monitor network performance in near real time, pinpoint faults and dispatch crews to precise locations, eliminating the need for night crews to drive around looking for faulty streetlights.

With all the controls at their fingertips, city lighting managers can dim or increase the brightness of street lights to meet the needs of the city at any given moment. For example, brightness levels can be increased near busy crossings or to help emergency services responding to incidents.

Read more: T-Mobile US bets on NB-IoT, completes Vegas live tests

Lower costs, environmental benefits

Switching to connected LED lighting is expected to reduce electricity used for lighting by 60 percent with estimated savings for Cardiff City Council of more than £750,000 a year. This efficiency will contribute to the UK’s goal to lower CO2 emissions by 34 percent by 2021 and Cardiff’s aspiration to be a one planet city by 2050.

Matthew Wakelam, head of infrastructure and operations at Cardiff Council told Internet of Business, “The main driver for the strategic road LED Street Lighting retrofit was to reduce our energy bill and carbon footprint. However; we were also keen to find a solution that the residents of Cardiff would be happy with; after all, the end users of a street light are the residents that live with them.

“The next phase of the journey is to link lighting as well as other city infrastructure with an open data platform that can be utilised to share vital data and information with both the Council, other public bodies and general public which is part of our long term strategy of making Cardiff a truly smart city.”

Internet of Business also spoke to Peter Zink at Philips Lighting, who told us, “When the City of Cardiff looked at a broad range of factors to renew its public lighting, the top priorities were to ensure maximum benefit for the citizens of Cardiff and to deliver a sustainable and scalable lighting infrastructure that could grow with its needs. Our connected street lighting will contribute to a safer environment for its citizens and will enable the city to achieve savings in energy and enjoy operational efficiencies.”

Read more: Echelon connected streetlights to get smart with IBM Watson

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Internet of Business

Internet of Warnings: How Smart Technology Can Threaten Your Business’s Security

security is a concern with iot

Science fiction technology may not be as far off as we believe. The Internet of Things (IoT) uses the powerful combination of Wi-Fi and cloud technology to send information and perform actions through devices with Internet capabilities. This advance stems from the use of telemetry, decades-old machine-to-machine communication via wired sensors and transmitters. Now the wires have been replaced by radio waves that transfer a nearly infinite amount of data.

IoT technology ranges from entire smart cities that streamline traffic to fridges that detect when you’re low on milk and order it for you, among many other products and services. Devices such as Fitbit and Nest are growing in popularity due to their low price, practicality, and variety of automatic functions. Nearly any object you use regularly can be exchanged for a “smart” version that logs usage, performs tasks for you, or learns your schedule and changes the environment accordingly—rapidly making the ubiquitous dream of a “smart house” a present reality.

How can the Internet of Things be utilized in business?

The Internet of Things is becoming more prevalent, so it’s likely your business has considered a switch to some form of IoT device. Self-driving delivery trucks and self-monitoring security systems are industry-specific, but every business benefits from smart lighting and thermostats that reduce energy costs. Retail markets can use IoT to keep an accurate and immediate inventory, while devices like Square can turn your smartphone or tablet into a hassle-free cash register.

Though IoT technology is still relatively new, the potential economic impact looms on the horizon. Constant updates on the status and stock of households and workplaces means the average consumer is likely to purchase more products than they would buy on their own. All industries have the potential to use this technology to increase sales and efficiency wherever needed. IoT devices may eventually replace human counterparts who once performed the same function.

How can you secure your Internet of Things technology?

Security is the biggest risk factor when incorporating IoT technology into your business. Some factors you should take into consideration before committing to an IoT upgrade:

  • Hacking: The most widespread IoT fear also happens to be the most rampant. If there’s a security loophole in a device that stores your credit card number or other personal information, hackers will try to exploit this vulnerability, often without encountering firewalls or other obstacles. Your safety could be compromised further by hackers who take over the entire system and hold your devices at ransom or even use your hardware to launch attacks against others without your knowledge. Understanding how your data is stored and accessed is something you must be aware of when considering an IoT device for your business.
  • Surveillance: Any device with a microphone or camera can potentially be activated by a remote user with the right knowledge. That’s why sites that seek out the IP addresses of webcams with unprotected open ports stream millions of private video feeds to viewers willing to pay. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your device and the permissions its software may have to be sure no one can eavesdrop on you. Read the fine print!
  • Company Security Policies: How does the manufacturer manage the security of their devices? Device security is the responsibility of the individual company, and since there aren’t yet any laws protecting IoT security, most companies depend on self-regulation and self-reporting. What safeguards has the company put in place to protect you, the consumer? What happens to your device if the company goes out of business?
  • Education and Caution: People can become reliant on smart technology, so it’s important to know the hidden downfalls of using these devices in your business. Employees who come in contact with a company IoT device should be aware of the possible threats and security breaches they can cause.

Most of the security concerns with IoT technology have to do with the engineering of the devices themselves. For this reason, knowledge and discretion are the most important safeguards to take when considering the switch to an interconnected network of smart devices. Though it may be fun to imagine your work computer booting up when it senses your car pulling into the parking lot, the vulnerabilities of this technology cast a long shadow on its practicality.

This article is brought to you by Mark Anderson, CEO of Anderson Technologies, an IT Consulting firm in St. Louis.

The post Internet of Warnings: How Smart Technology Can Threaten Your Business’s Security appeared first on ReadWrite.


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[Deal Alert] Sony 4K HDR smart TVs in 49″, 55″, 65″, and 75″ are $300 off at multiple retailers

These days, we’re seeing increasingly advanced smart TVs with 4K resolutions, HDR tech, and more. In anticipation of the Black Friday weekend, Sony has slashed prices on two of its 4K HDR smart TV lines, the XBR X900E and X930E. No matter what size or features you need, there’s an option for you here.

The XBR X900E is the lower-end of the two lines here, and it comes in 49″, 55″, 65″, and 75″ sizes.  Its slim, bezel-less design features X-tended Dynamic Range Pro and XDR Contrast 5x, full-array local dimming and boosting, and 4K HDR X1 tech.

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