November 17, 2019

Citelum: advancing urban development in the age of IoT

IOT (Internet of Things) devices are changing the world, bringing sensing and communication to even the simplest of objects allowing the optimum interaction with them. The powerful data that IoT networks mobilize brings whole new opportunities for creative problem solving, innovation in urban development and the adaptability of the urban environment to the needs of the inhabitants. This is nowhere truer than in the emerging appearance of smart cities. Citelum is the French technology innovator making this urban revolution possible.

 

When all public infrastructure is connected and can inform, sense, and relay vital information to authorities, this enhances citizens’ safety and quality of life, transforming both city management capabilities and energy efficiency. Citelum’s smart LED lights are the heart of an offer that provides cities with massive energy savings through its incredible efficiency. With the benefit of energy savings in the range of 60-70%, authorities not only have more money to allocate to other urban development initiatives, but they also have a custom-designed urban platform on which to build them. This is because, as well as making cities brighter and safer, “[lighting] provides an infrastructure on which it is possible to deploy new devices” explained Carmen Munoz-Dormoy, Citelum’s CEO as of 2016.

Reducing energy waste is top of the list of goals for many cities, saving the environmental cost of energy and improving council finances a sentiment widely shared by citizens who are increasingly mindful that environmental issues have a direct impact on health and well-being. Citelum works alongside a number of environmentally responsible partners fighting the negative effects of global urbanization on the environment. As well as reducing energy consumption through its lights, Citelum is an AirLab partner. As part of this role, Citelum works with other companies to use technology to improve the quality of urban air and reduce air pollution. The LED lights can be equipped with air pollution sensors, which can track shifting air quality, informing councils on areas of high concern and empowering them to bring standards in line with those set by international agreement. This can help with CO2 emissions commitments, identifying sources of air pollution, and with keeping city inhabitants informed who will then be able to adapt their behavior and participate in the shared effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The city of tomorrow is a thriving, sustainable city that cares for its citizens,” Ms. Munoz-Dormoy explained. In many ways, urban development IoT technology is concerned with the quality of life of city inhabitants. Noise pollution being a major urban concern, noise sensors can also be deployed in much the same way as air pollution sensors, measuring areas of high noise levels, and helping the authorities to pre-empt and adjust to related issues, as Citelum engineered in Sant Cugat in Spain.

Citelum can also support the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations, CCTV networks, Wi-Fi, and variable message boards, to name just a few things that are essential for urban development. Most importantly of all, Muse, Citelum’s complete urban management program allows all of a city’s IoT data to be centralized and controlled. This means that every sensor in the city can be used, with its anonymous data, to enhance understanding of traffic flow, air quality, public transport locations, anticipation of delays, and efficiency of energy use. Copenhagen for example has a 10 year project with Citelum to replace 21,000 street lights for LED lights, half of which will have their own IP addresses and will be linked to the management system for tracking traffic movements. In addition, Citelum’s technology has embraced the very high requirements of the public regarding data protection. This is why privacy and security are also at the heart of connected object technology.

With IoT devices fully utilised, the cities of the future will be safer, greener places to live, with more convenience and efficiency than currently seems possible. Smart cities are, however, large projects that require significant time, planning, and expertise to get them off the ground. Progress is slow and steady, but Citelum is doing its part to brighten up the road ahead with projects in some of the most iconic cities in the world, from Rome, Venice, Barcelona, to Dijon and other innovative projects including preparation for the first autonomous vehicle-ready motorway in Wallonia.

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Lauren Goodman