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Cisco gives boost to lighting networks that run cities

A higher intelligence: As streetlighting goes digital with the arrival of LEDs, luminaires and lamp posts will host sensors and networks that underpin urban information networks.

If like many city managers you want to turn your streetlights into an intelligent information network that helps run all sorts of municipal operations like traffic, public safety, parking, air quality, retail analytics and more, then a big new tool is coming that could help.

Cisco Systems, the giant of the networking world, has teamed with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based lighting-and-sensor network specialist Sensity Systems to combine their technologies into an overarching lighting-based, digital city management system.

The two companies said in a press release that Cisco will use Sensity’s NetSense – also known as Light Sensory Network – to underpin Cisco’s City Infrastructure Management (CIM) software.

Light Sensory Network works off of modern digital streetlights – LEDs – by embedding sensors and Internet connections in the luminaires to collect and communicate data about what is happening on the ground and in the air. That information can then be analyzed to help make decisions about traffic or police deployments, air quality actions, business trends and all sorts of other things.

The press release was short of information on Cisco’s CIM, but one could assume that it does what it says on the label – and even more so when combined with Light Sensory Network.

‘We share a common vision with Sensity, recognizing that smart lighting is just the tip of the iceberg,’ said Wim Elfrink, Cisco executive vice president of industry solutions and chief globalisation officer. ‘This new platform will create enormous potential for cities as they continue to roll out a platform that can deliver multiple applications and services, all using a common set of sensors, analytics and network for greater productivity, efficiency, and public safety.’

Sensity CEO Hugh Martin sang from same hymn sheet.

‘There are over four billion high-wattage lights in the world being converted to LEDs, which is a unique opportunity to transform the existing lighting infrastructure into a distributed sensor network,’ he said.

The Cisco-Sensity hook-up is the latest twist in the burgeoning movement to make LED lighting the backbone of intelligent, ‘Internet of Things’ networks in both the home, office and outdoors

Photo is from Mastering_Microstock via Shutterstock