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Smart lampposts tackle Covid response and recovery [IT’S LIT!]

A new generation of smart lampposts that can read body temperatures and detect overcrowding could stop the spread of Covid-19 and regenerate cities, according to a new report. It’s thought-provoking and, for cities and communities, an opportunity to maximize efficiencies.

The cutting-edge lamp columns go beyond street lighting by incorporating sensors that can receive and transmit information about such measures as crowd density to body temperature of individuals. They can also incorporate CCTV, air quality sensors, flooding monitors, digital signage, and 5G Wi-Fi hotspots.

The report – commissioned by city transformation experts UrbanDNA, Hydro, Itron, Lucy Zodion, Signify and the Smart City Infrastructure Fund – draws on case experiences from Barcelona, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, London, Munich and Singapore, to demonstrate how smart lampposts are being used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

The premise is this: a street light column has electricity running through it that can power sensors, mounted alongside the lamp. Street lights naturally follow where people and businesses are, and thus are ideally placed for gathering sensor data that can be used by smart applications.

Los Angeles already has more than 400 smart street lights, equipped with electronic vehicle chargers, and the city is looking to pilot air quality sensors, fire spotters, gunshot locators and earthquake sensors, according to the report. Although the city is not yet using smart lampposts to tackle COVID-19, its street lighting department says that smart lampposts could help them to detect if someone has a high temperature.

"We don't know when we will be finally COVID-free, but as we slowly ease restrictions, new measures will be needed to keep everyone and the economy safe,” said Richard Perry, Lucy Zodion's Smart Cities Head of Business Development. “By using their existing infrastructure, local authorities can smarten their lighting assets, making their public spaces safer (and) healthier, and bag the bankable financial savings that result from smart lighting upgrades – which typically exceed 50%."

Download “Shining a global light: the role of the ‘Humble Lamppost’ in a post-Covid green digital recovery,” here

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