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Chicago takes smart lighting lead

It is believed to be the largest city-led wireless smart street light programme in the US

The project will reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs and increase public safety
The project will reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs and increase public safety

Chicago is planning to connect more than 250,000 street light fixtures in what is believed to be the largest city-led wireless smart street light programme in the US.


Energy efficiency and renewable energy company, Ameresco, will work with Internet of Things (IoT) networking and solutions provider, Silver Spring Networks, on the four-year infrastructure modernisation project


Approximately 85 per cent of the city’s existing street lights will be replaced with smart LEDs. The multi-phase project will commence this summer. The new LED street lights are expected to consume between 50 and 75 per cent less electricity than the city’s existing lighting infrastructure.


Silver Spring’s IPv6 platform will enable the city to remotely dim or brighten street lights as needed, as well as to remotely monitor street lights for proactive maintenance and faster repairs if failures do occur.


“The City of Chicago’s lighting replacement initiative will be one of the largest modernisation programmes to date in the US,” said Mike Bell, president and CEO, Silver Spring Networks. “Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to improving the lives of citizens and neighbourhoods across the City of Chicago with state of the art IoT technology is inspiring. We’re very excited to see it come to fruition, while laying the foundation for future smart city applications.”


More than half of the light fixtures in at least the first year will be assembled at a plant in Chicago, and the project will use city residents to perform at least 50 per cent of the work on the project.


Additionally, the project is striving to achieve 27 per cent Minority Business Enterprise participation and seven per cent Women’s Business Enterprise participation. The first phase of the project requires a city-wide survey of existing street light infrastructure, and at least half of the personnel for this phase will be graduates of Chicago public schools career and technical programmes, city colleges of Chicago construction technology training programmes, and/or ex-offender apprenticeship programs.


The new smart LED street lights will be owned and operated by the City of Chicago, supported by Silver Spring Networks’ managed services and its Streetlight.Vision Control and Management System (CMS) software.


The economics and benefits of the smart street light network approach will help the city manage their resources prudently, and achieve sustainability-driven initiatives and goals throughout the community. The smart street light infrastructure will be integrated into Chicago’s 311 system.


The Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) led the procurement in close coordination with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and the Chicago Park District.


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