As most lighting professionals will well know, the concept of ‘smart cities’ has been with us for some time now. Yet there is still some hesitancy in deploying the technology, either because of lack of funding, the unclear strategy failed leadership and unclear vision, or just down to not knowing when and where to start.

In this article, therefore, I will try to help you to overcome some of those barriers, including how and where to start, what technology choices should be made and how to recognise that you are on the path to a smart city, as we are not going to complete this journey in a single article or a single project!

So, let’s make a start. First of all, can we agree that there is a lot of hype around smart cities and most people can’t even agree on what constitutes a smart city?!


This is maybe because it means so many different things to so many people. In fact, do we want it forever linked to ‘a city’? Personally, I am tending to move away from the term smart city; it is too big a concept to describe what most of us are trying to achieve. I prefer the term ‘connected place’.

I define a #ConnectedPlace as an area that is commonly used in terms of human and social interactions and indicates somewhere with an ambiguous boundary. Connecting people, things and places can do several things:<