Lights that talk

The city of Milton Keynes in the UK is using technology from a company in California to remotely control and monitor streetlights in the city.

The monitored streetlight system has been installed in over 400 streetlights as a trial project, and it’s planned to be deployed in 10,000 additional streetlights over the next three years following a successful tender process.

Each streetlight includes a new electronic ballast embedded with a power line transceiver from San Jose, California-based Echelon Corporation. The transceiver communicates with the company’s i.LON 100 Internet Servers that act as segment controllers, transferring information to a control centre where the energy consumption, lamp status and fault information of each individual streetlight are recorded.

Enterprise monitoring software running at the control centre allows an end-user to control the lamps remotely via the Web. It also displays lamp failure and energy consumption information in order to reduce maintenance costs.

The city of Oslo, Norway, is using a similar solution to reduce energy consumption by 62 percent. As part of its new intelligent outdoor lighting system, Oslo is replacing mechanical ballasts in its 55,000 streetlights with electronic ballasts that communicate over existing power lines using Echelon’s power line technology. The system remotely monitors and controls the lights, dimming them based on traffic, weather and available light. It also analyses lamp behaviour and identifies lamp failures.