Westminster City Council has announced that it will soon be rolling out new smart street lighting that can be controlled with an iPad. The new smart street lights will replace around 14,000 central London street lights 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.
This is the first system of its kind to be used in the UK and it will offer an excellent way to monitor street lighting levels and reliability. Through the use of an iPad application, engineers will be able to instantly see when a street lamp is not functioning correctly; it even has the intelligence to predict when a lamp is likely to fail too. The iPad app can also be used to raise and lower lighting output levels; although the engineer would have to be standing next to the lamp for this to work.
This new system is sure to be of interest to other local councils in the UK; if the cost savings are to be believed. There are many parts of the country were local councils are already trialling different cost saving schemes for street lighting and most just involve turning them off. This is hardly a great solution and one that has a definite impact on safety. The iPad controlled scheme may offer the savings that the councils need to make without degrading the current levels of street lighting.