Echelon connected streetlights to get smart with IBM Watson
Echelon connected streetlights to get smart with IBM Watson
Echelon connected streetlights to get smart with IBM Watson

Echelon connected streetlights to get smart with IBM Watson

Adaptive streetlights from Echelon will be connected with IBM’s Watson, applying cloud analytics, IoT and predictive intelligence to illuminate the bigger picture. 

Connected lighting giant Echelon Corporation is set to bring cognitive intelligence to its streetlight control platform with the help of IBM Watson. It’s hoped that the combination of Watson’s IoT capabilities and Echelon’s latest LED lighting control solution will be a step toward smarter and safer streets.

Echelon predicts that its streetlight operations will have wider benefits than simple illumination. With the help of IBM’s Watson, the data collected from lighting infrastructure can be analyzed and acted upon. Echelon CTO Sohrab Modi has suggested that the information gathered could “positively impact crime and weather-related accident statistics.”

Read more: Shining a light through the digital fog of IoT

Omniscience of IBM tech “a huge asset” to Echelon

“With a mission to continually advance our adaptive street lighting solution, we are excited at the prospect of integrating the cognitive and real-time analytics capability of IBM Watson IoT into Echelon’s platform to enhance its inherent intelligence,” said Sohrab Modi, the company’s chief technology officer.

“If mayors and town selectmen can have infrastructures that adapt to the data produced by billions of interconnected sensors and devices, they can positively impact crime and weather-related accident statistics. The omniscience that IBM Watson IoT will bring to our next-generation technology will be a huge asset for local and state governments.”

Read more: IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence to help solve complex medical cases

Echelon plans to apply Watson’s analytical capabilities to Lumewave, the company’s next generation of intelligent LED streetlight controls. The company’s gateways and controls will feed data from streetlight operations to IBM’s Watson.

There is also the possibility that Echelon hardware could contain further sensors, which can gather data on everything from traffic to weather conditions. Armed with this insight, Echelon streetlights could automatically adjust to offer the best lighting conditions for the situation or conditions at hand.

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“The IBM Watson IoT platform enables the access to external data sets and the ability to extract “intelligence,” Modi told LEDs Magazine. “We will be coming out with subsequent information on solutions as we roll them out, which will describe the types of data and how it will be applied.”

“We value any data that can add contextual data that could help improve decision-making related to safety issues.”

An announcement on the first deployment is expected within the next few months.

Streetlights: an enabler and gateway for smart city projects

Speaking exclusively to Internet of Business, Kees van der Klauw, Senior Vice President at Philips Lighting Research, suggested that connected LED lights will transform the way we monitor the smart cities of the future.

“With the move to connected LED lighting, more is going to happen in the next 5 years in lighting than in the past 100 years,” he said.

“Street lighting holds huge potential as it is installed everywhere: there are about 300 million street lights worldwide of which about 12% are LED and only 2% of them are connected. When cities seize the opportunity to adopt intelligent lighting networks, they create a city-wide platform to support other smart city applications supported by embedded sensors and data.”

Speaking with Internet of Busines, Ian Hughes, analyst at 451 Research agreed that lights are just the beginning. “Smart street lighting acts as a gateway and enabler for other smart city projects. Smart connected lighting is usually rolled out with a very obvious cost saving, typically a 60% in energy use moving to LED, that in turn brings along the infrastructure for connectivity placed the lamp posts.”

“It is common in IoT projects for new projects to emerge on top of the existing infrastructure. The fixed distribution of lamp posts makes them ideal as a connected sensor nest for multiple types of sensor, traffic, pollution, parking etc.” And it’s at that point, he says, that experiments “can be tried by local authorities with vendors and academia as the major capital expense of the connectivity has already been dealt with in the lighting rollout.”