There has been a lot of controversy over the UK possibly switching off some street lights to save money and energy, but London also has a pretty bright idea – use iPads to control street lights, and tell to technicians when the lights are in need of repair or replacement.
A successful pilot trial by the Westminster City Council has led to a goal of putting all 14,000 streetlights under the control of iPads over the next four years. This means an initial £3.25 million investment that will be paid back through energy and maintenance savings over the next several years. The technology will save council taxpayers £420,000 every year from 2015.
“This provides people in Westminster with the light they require to feel secure and continue to function safely in a 24-hour city,” said Cllr Ed Argar, cabinet member for city management. “But it will also reduce our energy bill by nearly £1 million every two years. A huge saving that we can pass on to the taxpayer.”
This is the first time a UK system such as this will be electronically monitored. Whether it’s a bulb that needs changing, a wire that has broken or even if a lamp is likely to fail, it will be detected and an engineer will be alerted and dispatched. Even better, brightness levels can be lowered or raised remotely.
Has your city switched to more modern technology for public services? Do you think changes like this will become the norm in the next few years?
Image CC licensed by Herry Lawford: street lamp on Westminster Bridge, London.