Cleantech
Vodafone, Philips Partner on IoT Solution That Lights the Way for Smart Cities

Telecommunications firm Vodafone and Philips Lighting announced a new partnership earlier this month that will focus on smart street lighting systems. The mobile operator is connecting its machine-to-machine (M2M) SIM card network with the lighting company’s LED street light management system, called CityTouch, to create wirelessly-connected, energy-saving, city-wide infrastructure.

Every connected street lamp will contain a Vodafone M2M SIM, which will allow city personnel to “monitor and manage lighting through a user-friendly and highly flexible system, while engineers will be able to check performance, identify faults and control the lighting remotely.”

Philips claims that CityTouch typically delivers an additional 30 to 40 percent energy savings above the savings made by using LED lighting, as the connected lights can be dimmed or turned up as required. According to Edie, some cities using Philips’ system have quoted energy savings of 70 percent.

“Lighting plays a key role in the smart city,” Vodafone M2M Director, Erik Brenneis, said. “Our agreement with Philips will see this technology transforming cities across the world backed by Vodafone's world-leading innovation, technologies and networks.”

The companies expect the system to be easily scalable and say that it will be able to support other smart city applications in the future.

”Just less than 12% of the world’s street lights are LED and less than 2% are connected. We are at the start of a new era which will see highly energy efficient connected street lighting become the backbone of most smart cities,” said Bill Bien, a senior vice president and Head of Strategy and Marketing at Philips Lighting.

“Robust, reliable wireless connectivity will help make this happen, linking streetlights with sensors, devices and management systems. By partnering with Vodafone we can work together to take light beyond illumination, helping to make cities more energy efficient, safer and ultimately more liveable.”

Philips also asserts that the CityTouch system reduces maintenance costs since it delivers real-time information on the status of each light point, allowing operators to schedule crews to a precise location. It is already operational in Los Angeles, London and Buenos Aires.

Vodafone told Edie that it has rolled-out more than 35 million Internet of Things (IoT) sustainability solutions across the globe, which its sustainability report claims has helped save its customers 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Under the new partnership, Vodafone will become a “global IoT connectivity partner” for Philips Lighting. The spokesperson could not confirm which cities will be integrating the new partnership platform.

Similar collaborations on IoT lighting solutions have been seen from Cree Inc. and Cisco Technology, as well as AT&T and various partners such as GE.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) released a report last month on how the Internet of Things will usher in a "tranformational paradigm of growth" for the circular economy while improving energy infrastructure and building sustainability. Both Philips and Cisco are global partners of the EMF.

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