IoT innovations in the city: focused on lights, safe crosswalks and bike paths
22 November 2021
Efficient wireless light management, smart traffic signs, safe bike paths. Take a look at solutions with IQRF.
Wireless light control
Over time, old types of lights using sodium-vapour lamps are replaced by new LED lights. In exchange, the operator saves huge electricity costs. When choosing suitable lights that also have a remote control, the savings can be even more significant and at the same time, it is possible to remotely obtain data on consumption, status, and other parameters from such lights. During the night, the light intensity may decrease, which brings additional savings.
An ordinary storm can take down a whole group of lights in the area, but thanks to remote monitoring, you know about faults immediately. There is no need to send service technicians to the place where the fault probably occurred, you do not have to close the traffic and you will save considerable resources for analyzing the problem. You simply find out which luminaires have a problem as part of regular monitoring and only there do you send service with already prepared spare components.
IQRF wireless technology is perfect for this purpose. A typical connection works in such a way that a control unit with the so-called IQRF network coordinator is located in the switchboard and usually controls more than 200 lights in its network. The control unit is an IoT gateway. The gateway communicates locally with the IQRF network containing the individual lights, and at the same time can provide data and connection to the WAN network.
The management can run locally on the gateway, so nothing happens in case of an internet outage. Everything takes place automatically according to the set scenarios. If the connection to the Internet works (Ethernet, GSM), the data is also sent to the control application located in the cloud storage. This application provides access to the network of lights to authorized people, who can remotely control and monitor everything.
The gateway can control a large number of lights from different networks. It contains one IQRF coordinator for each network, each of which operates on a different channel in the 868 MHz band. This eliminates interference between different networks.
In and out of the IQRF Alliance, you will find various lighting companies that have either directly integrated IQRF transceivers into their luminaires or used ready-made components such as the IQRF Lighting bridge or light controllers compatible with Zhaga and NEMA connectors containing these wireless modules. These components are supplied, for example, by MICRORISC, the author of IQRF technology, but you can also find them in other versions from different companies. Products and case studies can be found on the IQRF Alliance website.
IQRF Lighting bridge is a component with IQRF communication that you can simply connect to a luminaire with IEC 62389 (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface). After the IQRF wireless network, you then send commands to turn off / turn on the lights, change the light intensity or set the colour tone. Inside the device, these commands are then transmitted to the luminaire via the IEC 62386 interface. In addition to control, you can also send consumption commands via the IQRF network, generally about the status of the luminaire.
Communication via the IQRF network works in a similar way using Zhaga and NEMA connectors, which are easily connected to the luminaire.
In addition, the network of lights communicating via the IQRF wireless network can be used as a backbone for other devices. We will get to some outdoor sensors in the following parts.
The Logimic company, which developed the Logimic Light control software and, together with a partner company, deployed this solution in several cities and industrial areas, offers help with the integration of wireless communication and the deployment itself.
Have you ever nearly run over a pedestrian who suddenly appeared at an uncontrolled crosswalk? This should be helped by the solution presented by the Brno-based company Compactive at the beginning of November. Together with Nikatron, they developed a solution they called "iisign". These are smart traffic signs equipped with necessary sensors and warning elements.
Radar detects an oncoming vehicle and a "blind" camera captures approaching pedestrian.
If the sign registers an oncoming car, it checks whether the pedestrian is moving at or near the crosswalk, and if so, and there is a risk of a collision, it starts to flash rapidly. In addition, it passes this information to the sign on the other side of the pedestrian crossing, which also starts to signal the impending danger.
There are two beacons and a reinforced luminous hem on the sign. The signs are equipped with IQRF communication, they can communicate with each other near the crosswalk and synchronously warn of a possible problem. The signs can also be operated in areas without access to electricity because the company has included as a part of the solution the possibility of solar power.
Wireless network communication may not be dependent on other systems, but networks of lights around signs can also be used as the IQRF's wireless communication backbone.
The obtained data on the number of pedestrians, cars, their speed, etc. can then be used, if necessary, at the discretion of the city government. In addition, other sensory data, such as noise, temperature and humidity, are collected and sent to a central application in the cloud for further processing and statistics.
The first sign is already standing near the playground behind the Olympia shopping center in Modřice. People can also see them on Veslařská Street in Jundrov at the crosswalk in front of the primary and kindergarten speech therapy school, where the city district has long been dealing with the problem of passing children in heavy traffic. The last sign will be in Kohoutovice.
"For the trial operation, after consultations with mayors, we have selected sections where there is lower clarity due to the traffic and also a higher concentration of children due to the proximity of schools and kindergartens. In the upcoming months, residents will check how the signs work in practice," explains Richard Jílek, Sales Manager at Compactive.
Safe bike paths
The DATmoLUX company specializes in lighting and its intelligent control. In Czechia, Slovakia and other European countries, it has implemented more than 100 lighting projects focused on public lighting in municipalities and cities, as well as indoor lighting in industrial halls, sports halls, cinemas and churches. In addition to these activities, it has also developed solutions to increase the safety of cyclists on cycle paths.
In Kadaň, in the park area, it has installed more than 80 dimmable public lighting fixtures around the cycle paths. Thanks to the motion sensors located at the ends of the trails and their intersections, it is possible to detect the movement of the cyclist or pedestrian and illuminate the given section of the cycle path in full. After the movement stops, the exposure intensity is reduced to an economic 10% level after 5 minutes. For safety reasons, the lights will remain on at this level.
There are working lighting solutions that successfully use IQRF® wireless mesh technology. They can be interconnected and use the benefits of individual solutions. Locally autonomous control of lights in cities enriched with the use of safety features for pedestrian and cyclist crossings can significantly increase the safety of residents. Motorists can thus be alerted to both oncoming pedestrians and cyclists approaching the main road from the park. In addition, smart light control saves operators significant energy and service costs.
In the above examples, you have been introduced to some of the solutions of the IQRF Alliance members. Further case studies and products can be found at www.iqrfalliance.org. If you have devices that you would like to provide with IQRF® wireless communication or you have an application, IoT gateway, or customers to whom you would like to offer a suitable solution using one of the listed products, contact us. We welcome new innovative members to our community.
Ivona Spurná, email@example.com.