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OSRAM’s Todd Smith on Lighting for Smart Cities



Craig DiLouie, LC, CLCP recently had the opportunity to interview Todd Smith, Head of Engineering and Solution Development, SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions, OSRAM SYLVANIA. The topic: smart cities.

DiLouie: What is the concept of the smart city? What are the basic capabilities and benefits? Any documented outcomes based on demonstration projects?

Smith: A smart city networks one or several supply systems, controls these systems via software, and achieves significant savings in resources and costs by automating systems to respond to various environmental changes and conditions. It is an integration of buildings, information technology, and energy systems that can include light, automation, life safety, telecommunication, user systems, and facility management. All systems run on Ethernet/IP to allow people, systems, and objects to interact, respond to programmable cues, and report and monitor events. The basic capabilities of a smart city include detecting events or changing conditions, gathering data, and in some cases, the ability to control conditions all from a centralized hub or location.

There are numerous values and benefits to creating a smart city. Among the most important are data collection and subsequent energy and cost savings. Data is critical because conditions must be measured and monitored in order for the city to be managed. Energy and cost savings are another reason smart cities are the future. One of the primary capabilities people look for in a smart city is the ability for a light management system to detect outages, preventing the need for outages to be detected and recorded via customer reports or company surveys. When a power outage, gas leak, or even a car accident occurs, sensors and cameras in the smart city network can automatically notify city officials, helping improve emergency response times and overall city safety.

DiLouie: How do lighting and controls serve as the backbone of the smart city?

Smith: Lighting and controls serve as the backbone of smart cities. From office buildings, to train stations, to street and traffic lights, there is some form of light source. With the miniaturization of microprocessors, intelligence can now be embedded in lamps and luminaries, creating network-enabled devices where sensors can generate valuable data for the smart city network. Due to their digital nature, these controls are inherently compatible with LEDs. Therefore LEDs have the potential to be the primary infrastructure through which smart city networks are delivered. The purpose of a smart city is to provide the ability to control and monitor infrastructure, all of which is achievable through intelligent, sensing, and programmable LED luminaries.

DiLouie: What are the basic elements of the lighting control system?

Smith: Though the basic elements of the lighting control system can vary, the key elements include widely distributed sensing capabilities and a communications network. These sensors can monitor an unlimited number of factors, including detection of occupancy or motion, relative humidity, gas, temperature, and daylight.

With the use of an input/output sensor, data can be collected and compiled into the user’s network, and software can be configured to process and analyze the data. This provides the ability to collect data in the appropriate locations, while also creating a robust communications network.

Smart cities aren’t just limited to outdoor spaces, and can be integrated with building management systems as well. The ability to have an office building or space detect where people are, what the traffic flows are and how they move, and what spaces are being utilized at what times can allow the building system to sense and respond to changes in the environment. This might include programing lighting, heating, or AC depending on occupancy and environmental conditions – all resulting in optimized energy usage.

DiLouie: Please describe your company’s solution. What equipment is used? How do devices communicate and manage the flow of data? Where does the data go? Who operates the system and views the data, and how?

Smith: SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions (SLS) provides interior and exterior solutions for enabling smart cities and buildings. Interior lighting management systems, such as the ENCELIUM Light Management System by OSRAM, are designed for applications such as smart buildings, while exterior lighting control systems are used to collect data from street lighting. SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions is product agnostic, and the equipment used is based on customer requirements and needs. For example, luminaires first must meet the lighting requirements of the city, as the customer generally moves from a retrofit to a higher efficiency light source. SLS first consults with the customer, whether a municipality or a city, to define what they are trying to achieve. Then the appropriate devices, systems, lighting, and software packages are determined to meet the customer’s specific needs.

With existing building management systems, integration can occur through different protocols with the light management systems put in place, bringing everything together for the city. This removes the need for separate software and protocols as only one is needed.

Device communication can be wired or wireless. Typically, exterior lighting control systems are wireless. Interior lighting control systems can be a mix, depending on the space and customer preference. Either way, the communication protocols are the same regardless of the method of transmission. Where the data goes from there depends entirely on the needs of the end user. Data can be hosted by SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions, in a cloud-based system, or on an end user’s server.

The operator of the system can vary. While the building facilities manager may be the operator for their particular space in the building, in places such as train stations, a member of the department of transportation might have access to data from traffic patterns and street lights. Overall, everything will be managed by the city manager, or whoever is designated by the municipality as the owner.

DiLouie: What’s a good example of your system in action?

Smith: SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions is working on a smart city integration that involves networking government service administration buildings together with a large ENCELIUM enterprise solution. This will allow the city individual control at the building level, but also at the departmental level in order to allow for complete city-wide visibility. SLS was chosen for these transformations based on its strong reputation and ability to manage large projects.

In terms of demand response, the integration also allows for factors, such as daylight, to limit lighting consumption to a set percentage in order to lower the energy load during peak usage hours. This demand response protocol is built into the control system, and allows the customer to respond to a smart building’s request to drive down energy consumption load during peak demands. This manages the grid more effectively, and prevents the need to add more power to a particular grid.

A similar lighting systems integration project was completed in 2013 for a number of municipal buildings, court houses, and police stations as well as a sports arena owned by the municipality. The project gave the city added visibility over activities at each of the locations. The biggest piece of this project was the convention center. In addition to converting all the lighting to LED and energy efficient fluorescents, SYLVANIA Lighting Solutions also installed an advanced control system to better control the lighting at the facility. Previously there were few controls and no way to turn lights on and off effectively. The ENCELIUM controls include occupancy sensors and time scheduling capabilities that provide a wide array of control options that save energy and provide better functionality of the building, its meeting rooms and large ballrooms and concourses.

Incandescent and CFL lighting was also replaced in senior centers, libraries and municipal buildings with new LED sources. One of the biggest areas of savings were the replacement of nearly 1000 high ceiling Metal Halide cans with new LED sources. Energy was reduced by 65 percent, but the real benefit was the new longer life system (from 20,000 to 100,000 hours). Previously, it was very expensive and difficult to service the lighting because of the high mounting heights and challenging access.

DiLouie: A smart city goes far beyond LED lighting and centralized control. Please identify as many capabilities as possible that can be realized with a citywide lighting and sensor network. What sensors are required? At what point is custom software required, and who provides that?

Smith: The capabilities that can be realized with a citywide lighting and sensor network are limitless. If there is a sensor for anything from humidity, smoke, gas, radiation, noise level, to water pressure, the sensor can be integrated into the system, which then provides data to the customer.

Having sensors throughout a building accumulates data and reports. The customer must first identify what information they want to know and where, how to gather the information, and what will be done with that data. In turn, if a space has a sensor to detect for gas, there can also be an automated response in the system to handle that information.

Custom software is required if the customer needs to access something that is not inherent to the system. Although the ability to gather information is present in most smart devices, the system needs to be configured to respond to the intelligence gathered from particular sensors, thus creating the need for custom software. Combining multiple systems also creates the need for customization in order to pull the data from multiple software packages such as light management systems, building management systems, security systems, etc., into the overarching system.

DiLouie: How do electrical contractors play in this space? What can they provide, and what do they need to do in order to gain this business?

Smith: Having the right relationships and skill set is essential for electrical contractors getting involved in the smart cities space. As with any type of system integration, such as lighting controls, building the skill set and comfort level is key. In the smart cities space, knowledge must evolve from electrical to include systems work as well. Understanding both the hardware and software, and becoming comfortable working with different systems, is essential for electrical contractors to gain business in the smart cities space.

DiLouie: If sold through distribution, what can electrical distributors do to generate additional sales in this category?

Smith: Electrical distributors can provide a complete offering to their customers and generate additional sales in the smart cities market by partnering with manufacturers who have a wide range of product offerings.

DiLouie: What approach should system planners (e.g., electrical engineers) take to design an appropriate system for their city? Any common pitfalls?

Smith: From a design standpoint, system planners should first fully understand what is needed. Developing a smart city solution can be overwhelming because the options are literally limitless. It is important to not get too focused on what might be more than necessary for your particular municipality. Start upfront by understanding what your needs are, and then work with the right partner to figure out the solution.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about lighting and controls for smart cities, what would it be?

Smith: Due to the digital nature of LEDs and the ability to embed microprocessors in luminaries, lighting has the potential to provide the infrastructure for creating completely networked smart cities.