The use of Central Management Systems (CMS), also known as remote monitoring, has been in the mainstream public sector for over a decade. Technology has played a leading role in the energy saving movement. But, with the emergence of ‘Smarter Cities’, could CMS as we know it, be changing?
CMS was sold on the promise of identifying outages and faults with HID lamps and ballasts, offering quick repairs and lower maintenance costs and to enable varied dimming and switching regimes, which could be changed via wireless connections.
Smart Cities: what role will CMS play?
CMS does offers an array of possibilities – from light on demand: dynamic lighting linked to traffic flow, to interfacing with weather forecasts - to light for conditions. And, of course, there’s the role it plays/has played in controlling energy use at specific times. Yet, the same functionality can and is being achieved without the use of CMS through other technologies - such as PIR sensors. Few also use full CMS functionality, such as dynamic lighting, as it’s deemed too much of a risk (better to air on the side of caution and meet the standards required). So, will the current (underutilised) CMS systems die, fade away or be replaced on a wholesale approach, as we advance towards Smarter Cities?
What is becoming evident is that current proprietary radio technology will not meet the growing demands of a Smart City. With new technologies and communication systems such as Bluetooth Mesh, NB-IoT 5G and embedded M2M sim cards, what is clear – is the changing role that our lighting infrastructure has to play. No longer are columns just a place to hang a light – they will now have to meet multiple uses for multiple communication platforms.
I know my title is a little provocative. We all understand that CMS still offers many benefits for specific applications, for example - they make perfect sense for remote shopping centres, railway stations and road networks that need to react to a high degree of change in calendar events (such as the TfL network), but perhaps these are exceptions to the rule.
Product design is already changing to integrate these new sensors, detectors and communication systems. Smart City Systems will evolve to embrace the differing communication platforms needs, assisting in reducing wastage and increased efficiencies.
Inevitably CMS will play a part in the Smart City, but the exact nature of the role remains unclear.
As street lighting practitioners we need to think outside of our own market, as many of the features we desire can only be achieved with open protocol Smart City Systems and I will be interested to see the developments in proprietary CMS technology and their attempts at integration with other Smart City systems.
Thoughts and comments are welcome – tweet me @mclight0112