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Friday, May 29, 2020

Street Lamps as a Platform for the Urban Smart City

Considerable piece on using Street lights as a platform for the urban smart city.  Have seen this posed a number of times, greet place to start, how often has it been successfully done?

Street Lamps as a Platform
By Max Mühlhäuser, Christian Meurisch, Michael Stein, Jörg Daubert, Julius Von Willich, Jan Riemann, Lin Wang
Communications of the ACM, June 2020, Vol. 63 No. 6, Pages 75-83

Street lamps constitute the densest electrically operated public infrastructure in urban areas. Their changeover to energy-friendly LED light quickly amortizes and is increasingly leveraged for smart city projects, where LED street lamps double, for example, as wireless networking or sensor infrastructure. We make the case for a new paradigm called SLaaP—street lamps as a platform. SLaaP denotes a considerably more dramatic changeover, turning urban light poles into a versatile computational infrastructure. SLaaP is proposed as an open, enabling platform, fostering innovative citywide services for the full range of stakeholders and end users—seamlessly extending from everyday use to emergency response. In this article, we first describe the role and potential of street lamps and introduce one novel base service as a running example. We then discuss citywide infrastructure design and operation, followed by addressing the major layers of a SLaaP infrastructure: hardware, distributed software platform, base services, value-added services and applications for users and 'things.' Finally, we discuss the crucial roles and participation of major stakeholders: citizens, city, government, and economy.

Recent years have seen the emergence of smart street lamps, with very different meanings of 'smart'—sometimes related to the original purpose as with usage-dependent lighting, but mostly as add-on capabilities like urban sensing, monitoring, digital signage, WiFi access, or e-vehicle charging.a Research about their use in settings for edge computing14 or car-to-infrastructure communication (for example, traffic control, hazard warnings, or autonomous driving)6 hints at their great potential as computing resources. The future holds even more use cases: for example, after a first wave of 5G mobile network rollouts from 2020 onward, a second wave shall apply mm-wave frequencies for which densely deployed light poles can be appropriate 'cell towers.'

Street lamps: A (potential) true infrastructure. Given the huge potential of street lamps evident already today and given the broad spectrum of use cases, a city's street lamps may obviously constitute a veritable infrastructure. However, cities today do not consider street lamps—beyond the lighting function—as an infrastructure in the strict sense. Like road, water, energy, or telecommunication, infrastructures constitute a sovereign duty: provision and appropriate public access must be regulated, design and operation must balance stakeholder interests, careful planning has to take into account present and future use cases and demands, maintenance, threat protection, and more. Well-considered outsourcing or privatization may be aligned with these public interests.

The LED dividend: A unique opportunity. The widespread lack of such considerations in cities is even more dramatic since a once-in-history opportunity opens up with the changeover to energy efficient LED lighting, expected to save large cities millions in terms of energy cost, as we will discuss, called 'LED dividend' in the following. Given their notoriously tight budgets, cities urgently need to dedicate these savings if they want to 'own' and control an infrastructure, which, once built, can foster innovation and assure royalties and new business as sources of city and citizen prosperity ... "

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