Breaking down the Barriers to a Smart City

It is a widely held belief that most #LocalGoverment organisations work in silos and that through legacy IT systems and budget allocations to departments rather than strategic projects the idea of a #SmartCity remains just that, an idea!

Indeed, if you look at how most proof of concept and pilot projects are developed and deployed then the #IoT industry seems to be enabling this silo approach and even making products that reinforce this approach.

Take for example #SmartStreetLighting where Nodes, Communication Network and CMS systems often come from the same supplier, thereby limiting vendor choice or locking in the authority to a sole supplier. The industry has tried to address this through initiatives such as #TALQ, but in practice this only opens up the supply chain slightly and still we proceed with CMS software that claims to be a Smart City platform, but at best, this is an asset management tool and at worst another barrier to sharing #data across the organisation.

Current methods of Smart City #Sensor deployment, is to use "Cloud to Cloud" integrations, which works, but is difficult to develop, manage and is costly to run when deployed on mass. Take for example, a simple #DynamicLighting scenario where energy management can be optimised through the use of presence detection sensors in street lights. These sensors will have their own back-haul network (probably 3G) which in turn will send data to its cloud based software and through an API interaction will send data to the street lighting CMS, which sends data through another 3G link to a gateway, which then sends via a LPWAN to the nodes that must react to the presence detection.

As can be seen, this adds a great deal of complexity and cost to what should be a simple solution and adds more silos within a silo.

So how do we resolve this, either using a clever sensor that can attach directly to the lantern and integrates directly with the LED driver and CMS system, such as a #ZhagaBook18 SR radar sensor

If the solution requires a more complex approach to integrate further sensors, such as #SmartParking or #AirQuality sensors then the use of an Edge Computing platform would be a much simpler and cost effective solution and will break down the barriers of the silo approach and allow data to be shared across sensors

Edge computing platforms like the NearSky product, will allow multiple sensors to be connected directly to the street light via the NEMA socket and will provide metered power to these sensors and back haul networks that can be optimised for the data bandwidth requirements. As well as providing these facilities the ability to receive data, interpret that data and act on it directly on top of the street light, minimises latency, reduces communication costs and makes deployment of mass sensors extremely easy.

The use of individual sensor software platforms to collect and display data is not sustainable, equally trying to add that data to a street lighting CMS platform will only ever be any good as an asset management platform. what we need is a "single pane of glass" that will allow for many different sets of data to be analysed, visualised and acted upon, regardless of where it originates from or how it is transported there and what format its in.

If you want to look at how you can break down silos and deploy your smart city at scale without creating more barriers then get in touch.


+44 (0) 1767 666488

Registered in the UK - Company Number 11563619

  • Facebook

©2020 by Smart City Products Ltd. Proudly created with