Wi-SUN Logo

Wi-SUN technology provides the platform for City of London Smart City Initiative

A chilly and damp November evening may not have been the best timing for an outdoor event in London but it provided an ideal opportunity to ‘showcase’ the City of London Corporation’s next step into Smart City IoT, a 12,000 unit smart street lighting deployment built on Wi-SUN technology, to the media.

We were privileged enough to be able to hold an introductory briefing at the Guildhall, the iconic headquarters of the Corporation. Here our guests, who represent a broad spectrum of the media from technology and lighting through to business and broadcast, were introduced to the technology and the background by first Wi-SUN Alliance and then Itron. Itron played an instrumental role by supplying the communications equipment for the project. This was followed with an insightful presentation of the project by Giles Radford, Highway Manager, Highways Division Department of the Built Environment, City of London, after which we were treated to a walking tour of the deployment itself with on-street demonstrations.

The City of London Corporation provides local authority services to those located in the City of London, commonly known as the Square Mile, the financial district and historic centre of London. The residential population itself of approximately 8,000 people is surprisingly small but with more than half a million people commuting into the City every day for work and millions of tourists visiting every year, it is a hive of activity.

The City of London is dedicated to creating a vibrant and thriving city. The City’s mission is to provide an outstanding environment with lighting forming a key component of this. The integration of new architectural projects with the area’s medieval street pattern has proved challenging.

The existing lighting stock, much of it over 30 years old was reaching the end of its useful life. Therefore, the City decided to replace the old units and update the communications technology while doing so. New street lighting helps reduce maintenance costs and energy consumption as well as offering increased flexibility for aesthetic lighting and improved public safety. As a result the City now also has the capability to enable new programs such as environmental monitoring.

The project used LED luminaries and a Central Management System (CMS) allowing the City to use tuneable settings to best show its historic assets.

The environment, with its narrow streets, tall buildings, and the construction materials of some of these buildings, meant that the City really struggled to find a system that provided the communications coverage needed.

The City of London partnered with Itron and Urban Control to meet these requirements delivering good in-field performance based on open standards communications technology. The two-year project, which is expected to complete later in 2020, uses Wi-SUN FAN technology with self-forming and self-healing functionality, as well as Urban Control’s software to comply with the City’s stringent requirements. The deployment uses multiple gateways to ensure connectivity with additional redundancy.

The City of London is in the early stages of its Smart City development but it’s evident that the open standards support of Wi-SUN FAN technology and the flexibility to integrate new, third party devices were a key factor in its final decision. Traffic and parking monitoring, occupancy sensing and environmental monitoring are all part of the Corporation’s long-term plan and we will watch with interest to see how it develops. In the meantime, thank to Giles Radford and his team, Itron and Urban Control for making it possible.