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Los Angeles ties its LED streetlights into the web

A hundred thousand points of light: Los Angeles is outfitting 110,000 LED streetlights with individual chips that will allow the city to manage each one remotely via the Web. Philips is supplying the management system. The lights come from a mix of vendors.

Los Angeles, which is undertaking one of the world’s largest conversions to LED street lighting, is pushing those lights further into the ‘smart city’ realm with a Web-based system that controls and montiors each light remotely.

LA is outfitting its 110,000 LED lights with individual mobile SIM chips that tie into Philips’ CityTouch management system, Philips said in a press release today. The lights themselves are not from Philips, but from a mix of other vendors.

Philips declined to reveal how much Los Angeles is paying for the system.

As we reported last October, Los Angeles is in the midst of an ambitious LED street lighting overhaul. At the time, it had converted a reported 155,000 lights to LED technology, on its way to 210,000 (Lux is awaiting clarification on the discrepancy between ‘110,000’ and ‘155,000’ lights. Whatever the exact number, it appears to be six figures).

LA has also been eying possible innovative, smart LED deployments, such as flashing digitally controlled streetlights to show fire, police and ambulance crews the route to emergencies. The CityTouch deployment could eventually help with such breakthroughs.

For now, Philips and Los Angeles are lauding it as a means to easily and inexpensively monitor and control lights and dispatch maintenance teams when necessary, and to link into other ‘smart city’ systems. The system is also designed to optimise classic LED benefits, such as reducing energy consumption. LEDs require far less electricity than conventional streetlights. And as digital devices (LEDs are light-emitting diodes) they lend themselves to the type of digital control and networking at play with CityTouch.

‘LA has more LED street lights than any other city in America, with about 7,500 centerline miles,” Ed Ebrahimian, director of LA’s Bureau of Street Lighting, said in the Philips release. ‘This required a solution that would allow us to remotely control street lights and accurately report how much energy each light is consuming, while also being easy to install.’

Ebrahimian also described the Philips system as ‘flexible enough to adapt to broader smart city plans’, suggesting that Los Angeles has ideas to tie smart lighting into other information systems. Proponents of  intelligent street lighting typically point to traffic, public safety and air quality as examples.

‘We piloted several solutions over the last year and decided to implement CityTouch as it required no further investment or intervention in our infrastructure,’ Ebrahimian said.

‘The entire system can be securely controlled and managed remotely through any web browser,’ Philips said in the release.

Philips will connect additional lights beyond the 110,000 as LA installs them, a Philips spokesperson told Lux.

CityTouch is designed to support LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s stated intentions of making city streets safer by improving lighting.

“Philips CityTouch supports Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets program by taking the management of LED street lighting to the next level, increasing safety through uptime, ensuring better visibility and providing the capability to further adapt lighting to the needs of a particular neighbourhood,” Amy Huntington, president of Philips Lighting Americas, said in the release.

Lux hopes to follow up with more details soon.

Photo is from Sean Pavone via Shutterstock