Future innovation has its roots in real life projects that are happening right now
Whatever they say, the future will definitely not be orange. The sodium infused streetlights that give our cities that distinctive orange glow will be consigned to the past as will the ambient strain of light pollution that accompanies it.
This is according to Philips Lighting that presented its view of how connected lighting can underpin the structure of future cities at the Smart Cities Expo World Conference in Barcelona earlier this week.
The lighting company looked to 2030 as its reference point, which, although sounds like future with a big ’F’ is only 14 years away. It’s the year by which it is predicted that 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities.
In the first instalment of the 2030:Smart City Life virtual reality experience, Philips demonstrated how connected LED lighting has the potential to enhance and transform many aspects of our lives in the march towards increasing urbanisation. And its not ‘out there’ fanciful thinking, The four scenarios that the company presented in its VR exercise are firmly based in current day reality – what is possible and happening right now – so let’s take a look at these in greater detail.
1. Connected Streets
Connected LED street lights provide highly energy efficient, quality light, but they can also act as sensor nodes on an information highway. Fourteen years from now connected streetlights could stream data between millions of devices. Connected lighting infrastructure collects and distributes data and improves city services such as light, traffic, air quality, public safety, parking and other location based services, leveraging state-of-the-art communication technologies.
Autonomous vehicles navigate roads safely, using and communicating with sensors in streetlights that scan the road and pavements, and provide a frame of reference by transmitting situational information to augment the vehicles’ on-board sensors.
At the show, the company announced its latest connected lighting project in Jakarta that utilises Philips CityTouch to monitor and manage nearly 90,000 streetlights.
2. Interactive Public Spaces
Scarcity of space will force cities to extend public spaces underground, with a seamless transition made possible by lighting that mimics natural daylight and makes people feel comfortable.
Digital lighting systems can send positional data to help drones navigate and deliver items, while responsive light walls display art and foster citizen interaction and creativity.
3. Sustainable city farming
Beneath the city and in unused spaces, urban farms that use little water and no pesticides can grow plants and vegetables sustainably - reducing the distance between the farm and your fork, increasing food security, ensuring provenance and protecting precious natural resources.
Since 2013, Philips Lighting has been collaborating with GrowUp Urban Farms, a vertical urban farm established in an unused warehouse in East London’s industrial area. This is the first commercial aquaponic urban farms in the UK and produces 20,000 kilograms of fresh salads per annum with the help of Philips GreenPower LED lighting.
4. Greater personalised living
In the home of 2030, lighting will be able to synchronise with everything from your doorbell to your television and music and will be fully adjustable to individual preferences. It will pre-empt your needs and complement your wellbeing.
This month, Philips Lighting and Xiaomi joined forces to design and develop connected LED lighting products for Xiaomi’s smart home ecosystem in China.
Commenting on its future vision, Jeff Cassis, head of Government Business, Philips Lighting, said, ”Sustainable urban growth must balance growing demands on resources, space and security while also making cities more liveable and enjoyable for everyday citizens. City managers will need to prioritise which changes are most important to their cities not only through concerns for cost, feasibility and timing, but also by listening to the current needs and wishes of citizens.
”The future of smart cities is the sum of many parts and success will require collaboration amongst companies large and small, governments, academia and above all, citizens. This is why today, we are calling on citizens and city managers across the world to join our conversation and explore the future together. The future starts now.”
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