Signify and Upciti help cities get more from street lighting

  • October 11, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Signify and Upciti are helping cities and utilities across North America leverage their street lighting infrastructure to improve transportation, public safety and sustainability.

Street lighting provides a strong foundation to make cities smart, liveable and sustainable. Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, and French firm Upciti, a specialist in artificial intelligence and edge computing, together aim to help cities and utilities across the USA and Canada get added value, well beyond illumination, from their lighting infrastructure.

By leveraging Signify’s road and street LED luminaires and Interact IoT connected lighting system and Upciti’s privacy-by-design edge computing image analysis sensors, cities can improve services such as parking. Sensors can detect open spaces, communicate availability to drivers and assist them with navigation, reducing traffic congestion, supporting economic activity and even generating direct parking revenue.

Sensors can also help identify potential situations and alert emergency services if they are needed. And they can identify vehicle queue sizing on streets and understand public transportation and bike lane usage. With these data, the traffic flow can be adjusted and optimised in real time to reduce congestion and its contribution to carbon emissions.

“With the US government’s historic, $1.2tn Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, it has never been a more opportune time for cities to leverage their street lighting infrastructure to tackle some of their greatest challenges such as transportation, public safety and sustainability,” said Martin Stephenson from Signify. “Cities can reap immediate value from adding IoT and sensor technology, while laying the foundation for a larger transformation journey.”

As part of its smart street lighting programme, New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) engaged Signify through a competitive procurement process that enabled Albany to upgrade its nearly 11,000 streetlights to energy-efficient, connected LED luminaires. The city also uses Signify’s Interact IoT system to monitor and manage the lights, helping it be an energy-smart city.

“Connected LED streetlighting plays an important role in building smart city infrastructure,” said Jesse Scott, director of projects at NYPA. “An early adopter, the city of Albany had realised tremendous energy and operational savings. We are thrilled with the prospect of piloting the sensors in Albany so they can bring even more value for the city and residents. It will enable departments, from the parking authority to city planning, to make data-driven decisions to improve public safety, support future planning and improve communication infrastructure in disadvantaged communities.”

Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan added: “Street lighting is not just for illuminating roads. The latest technology can help us create a more safe and equitable community. We have already reduced energy and carbon emissions and have saved millions in operating costs. We intend to continue utilising city-wide infrastructure, so we can ensure a bright future for generations to come.”

City managers can aggregate and visualise sensor data in a single dashboard and gain actionable insights to improve the liveability of their city. The system follows stringent rules and practices to ensure citizens’ privacy; no images are stored or communicated.

“We are excited about the prospect of establishing a partnership with Signify and deploying our joint solution in Albany,” said Jean-Baptiste Poljak, founding president of Upciti. “The integration of our edge computing image analysis sensors with Signify’s Interact system will enable the city and others across North America to leverage their street lighting infrastructure to deliver new services and improve citizen quality of life while protecting their privacy.”

Upciti, founded in 2017, designs, manufactures and operates a network of privacy-by-design edge computing image analysis sensors, installed mainly on public lighting poles. It provides the collected data to different public and private actors and hundreds of different software options, from mobile applications to hypervisors and GIS.