Philips leverages Vodafone M2M network for global smart street lighting services

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Philips selected Vodafone as its global wireless connectivity partner for an Internet of Things (IoT) based smart street lighting system that the company said will pave the way for additional smart city initiatives in the future.

The Netherlands-headquartered electronics company said the deal between its Philips Lighting division and Vodafone will provide city authorities with the means to deploy street lighting systems that are connected wirelessly to Vodafone's machine-to-machine (M2M) network through SIM cards installed in each lamp. That connectivity will allow city authorities to monitor and manage the lights using Philips CityTouch system, which offers the ability to remotely identify faults and control the lighting.

In a statement, Philips said the collaboration will offer an infrastructure that can be easily scaled to cover additional smart city services in the future.

The company said Philips CityTouch can reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent by enabling city authorities to adjust the brightness of street lights to match the time of day -- for example making them brighter at night, and dimmer at dusk or dawn -- or their location. That reduction is added to an existing 40 per cent reduction in energy consumption through the use of LED lamps, Philips explained.

To put that into context, energy costs for the UK's street lighting network were £300 million (€381 million/$423 million) in 2014, according to a 2014 report by the government-backed Green Investment Bank.

Philips said its system can also reduce ongoing maintenance costs by sending information on a lamp's operational details securely over Vodafone's M2M network. That means faults can be identified remotely rather than by teams on the ground, it explained.

Bill Bien, SVP and head of strategy and marketing at Philips Lighting, said that less than 2 per cent of the world's street lights are connected today. "We are at the start of a new era which will see highly energy efficient connected street lighting become the backbone of most smart cities. Robust, reliable wireless connectivity will help make this happen, linking streetlights with sensors, devices and management systems."

For more:
- see this Philips announcement
- view this Green Investment Bank report (PDF)

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