The concept of smart cities might have seemed like a pipe dream just a few short years ago, but according to several experts on the subject in a Lightfair panel discussion today, Connected Lighting: The Future of Our Cities, several are already in place and several dozen more may be completed within the next year.
Munish Khetrapal, managing director for Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities Sol, said Cisco has seven signed contracts for citywide connected lighting networks and he thinks that at least 20 major networks will be in place by this time next year, as well as many smaller ones.
Jeff Cassis, Philips Lighting’s senior V.P. of government, recently returned from a multi-year assignment for the company working on connected lighting research and projects in Europe. He says connected lighting now provide several European police departments with early warnings of crowd altercations. He said Copenhagen is generally considered to be one of the “smartest cities” in Europe because of its innovative lighting network.
Cassis is also enthusiastic about the potential to use modern lighting systems that can be calibrated to specific plant types in urban farming locations, bringing fresh produce closer to restaurants and consumers in densely populated urban areas. LED lighting for these urban gardens, as well as cannabis farming, is gaining momentum and an increase in the number of these lighting systems on the show floor at LightFair was striking. Some cities are already developing urban gardens in abandoned subway tunnels, old mill buildings and other buildings that can be re-purposed.