Essex Highways’ street lighting team recently installed Britain’s first LED streetlights with in-built connectivity capacity, in Chelmsford. The new energy-saving DigiStreet lanterns, made by Philips, are part of a roll-out that could significantly contribute to Essex’ digital infrastructure.
The new radio-controlled lanterns are each able to ‘talk’ with our Central Management System, so we can switch them on and off remotely and dim them; we also know when they are faulty. However, their truly unique feature is that they also have a second powered socket available. This allows us to attach other sensors, for example ones that could create Wifi hotspots, monitor pollution or weather in real time or even help guide driverless vehicles.
The new lights give us immense flexibility for how the fittings might be used in the future. This could include things such as monitoring the carriageway/ road condition by gathering passing vehicle data, putting sensors in gullies that communicate with the lanterns, to alert us when the gully is full and needs emptying and having lights that switch on and off as vehicles pass by.
Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council said: “We are taking advantage of new technology to create the potential for Smart Cities. This allows us to offer more, for less, and supports our ambition to embrace digital technology to give our residents and businesses the quality of life and work they aspire to.”