Urban Control and Nordic Semi develop plug-and-play IoT LED streetlight controller to make cities instantly smart

London, UK. 21 April 2022 – Urban Control, the smart city solutions provider, announced that working together with Nordic Semiconductor it has developed a plug-and-play IoT LED streetlight luminaire controller that is quick to install and can scale-up to millions of lights.

The Urban Node 324 Cellular city streetlight LED luminaire controllers each include the Nordic Semiconductor nRF9160 multi-mode NB-IoT/LTE-M System-in-Package (SiP) and plug into an industry-standard ‘Zhaga’ LED lighting socket. They then connect over the local cellular IoT network allowing them to be remotely controlled by any smart city Central Management System (CMS) based on the common ‘TALQ’ standard.

By using standard cellular technology Urban Node 324 Cellular works straight out of the box, just like a mobile phone. This makes it cost-effective for small and distributed lighting estates to get the benefits of intelligent central control for the first time. Examples might include streetlights in retail parks, hotel chains, office and warehouse developments, and across rail infrastructure such as stations, car parks and good yards.

Urban Control Urban Node 324 Cellular controllers deliver all the benefits of smart city LED street lighting, including the ability to precisely control brightness and thus energy consumption and costs depending on actual local conditions; the ability to dynamically respond to sudden changes in pedestrian numbers or road traffic; the ability to monitor energy consumption in real-time; and the ability to identify and even pre-empt faults and precisely target maintenance crews again reducing operating costs and unnecessary maintenance via environmentally-polluting, service-van inspections.

“Unlike traditional smart city lighting installations that require a specialised network to be built, the Urban Node 324 Cellular works straight out-of-the-box just like a smartphone,” says Miguel Lira, Urban Control’s innovation & development director. “This makes it commercially and technologically viable for any size installation because it does not require the operator to build their own wireless IoT network or become a wireless IoT network operator themselves. This brings all of the benefits of smart lighting to small clusters of streetlights all the way up to massive, multi-million node capital city-sized installations. This is truly a game changer in the smart city streetlighting industry.”

“Now that the potential and value of smart city applications has been successfully demonstrated, the time has come to begin developing resources that will allow towns and cities to deploy these technologies at scale quickly and affordably,” says Lorenzo Amicucci, business development manager at Nordic Semiconductor. “Moving away from proprietary solutions towards devices which are ready straight out of the box and leverage cellular networks that are already deployed in every town, city and significant population centre around the world, devices like Urban Node 324 can make anywhere smart more quickly and for less cost.”

The advantages of intelligent, centrally controlled streetlights are well-known. Their light output can be adapted to precisely what is needed, and they can respond dynamically to changes in pedestrian footfall or road traffic. In doing so, they reduce energy costs, carbon emissions and light pollution. They also report when they have a fault, which saves on maintenance costs.

The operational simplicity of each Urban Node 324 comes from them being engineered to work via a lightweight-machine-to-machine (LwM2M) platform called ‘ALASKA’ from scarce resource IoT device management and security specialist, IoTerop. This leverages the two most common smart city IoT standards: ‘uCIFI’ and ‘TALQ’. It additionally uses state-of-the-art embedded design engineering to minimise on-air bandwidth and get power consumption levels low enough to support battery-powered smart city sensors and devices.

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