Why a major Chinese city's betting big on smart street lights

Wed, 2016-06-08 06:00 -- Doug Peeples

The northern coastal city of Tianjin, a metropolis of more than 15 million residents, is already recognized as an advanced industrial and financial hub — and China's ambitious plans  to become a global leader in smart technologies are well-known. After a successful deployment of connected smart LED street lighting with its GE partners, Tianjin city leaders want to move forward with more installations, and to continue collaborating with Current on innovative ideas will become real-world smart technologies and solutions. It's one more example of how smart street lighting can be a logical, strategic entry point for smart city transformations (and a way to significantly cut energy bills for lighting).  — Doug Peeples

The initial deployment of Current's intelligent street lighting brought new capabilities and services to Tianjin's central business district: such allowing the city to broadcast important messages or advertising on digital screens attached to the lights and Internet access for residents. The project also reduced lighting-related energy expenses by 50%.

More to come...
Now Tianjin city leaders, GE China and Current have signed a memorandum of understanding to support continued collaboration in several areas. In addition to increasing the area covered by the connected smart lighting network, the partners envision linking sensors and software to GE's industrial Internet platform, Predix. The data collected and analyzed with Predix could identify traffic patterns in real time, guide drivers to vacant parking spaces and support emergency response crews.

Equally important, the MOU outlines development of a Current incubation center which could be used by local companies exploring digital technologies, encourage more investment in the city and help it achieve its goal of becoming a technology leader.

"The city of Tianjin, together with GE China, Current and our team at the Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Co., understand the critical need to deploy sustainable, digital infrastructure that supports urban innovation," said Lo Bo, board chairman for Tianjin Innovative Finance. "The intelligent LED deployment, the first of its kind in Asia, together with the digital incubation center, will propel benefits and outcomes for residents and position Tianjin a leader in forward-thinking technology."

More on smart street lighting…
Download the Council's eBook on smart street lighting to learn about additional benefits and services  connected smart street lighting networks can bring, and how they can serve as a platform for other smart city applications.

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.