Venturing into the large-scale application market, a team of five from Bosch has come up with an indigenous smart street lighting solution, powered by Raspberry Pi, Bosch Internet of Things (IoT) Suite and a Zigbee based induction lamp. This innovative solution, Smart Street Lighting Management System (SSLMS), aims to revamp the quality of public lighting by optimising power consumption, and is targeted especially at Indian market.
Reduction in heavy emission and energy consumption can be achieved
For all cities, worldwide, improving efficiency, cost and operation of streetlights is the need of the hour. “It is estimated that as much as 40 per cent of a city’s energy budget is spent on outdoor lighting, and that, a single streetlight can emit 200kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year,” informs Triveni Prabhu, project manager, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd.
Increasingly, cities need to save energy or do more with less energy, reduce carbon emissions, attain lower operating and maintenance costs, and comply with tighter government regulations. She adds, “Our smart technology enables cities to remotely turn lights on and off, adjust their intensity through automatic programming or sensors, detect energy leakage or possible cable cuts and reduce energy usage.”
Two attributes that influenced the production of SSLMS
One fact that drove the team at Bosch to come up with such a solution is that, in European countries, wired communication based brightness control is mostly used, which saves sufficient energy. If brightness of light is reduced by half, the brightness reduction perceived by people is approximately 25 per cent, informs Prabhu. Therefore energy can be saved by reducing brightness.
She adds, “There are also several promising wireless communications currently available that can work for long distance, reliably up to a kilometre, provided line-of-sight is available.”
Bosch already had different solutions developed for various applications like Zigbee wireless communication, lighting ballast for brightness control for indoor applications or Web solutions to connect various devices to have various business solutions, notes Prabhu. She says, “These things put together in a street lighting product, in last three to four years of effort from Bosch, has great energy-saving potential.”
She adds, “For an energy-hungry country like India, SSLMS is ideal, as it also helps identify and communicate faults to the responsible person, and make payments online, based on the service level. This may improve transparency in the public lighting-management system.”
At the heart of this solution is Raspberry Pi board, on which a Bosch-developed control unit has been deployed. The streetlamp hardware is Zigbee-enabled. A machine-to-machine (M2M) software platform forms the base of the system, which facilitates data-transmission activities. SSLMS makes outdoor lighting more efficient, safe and affordable with networking intelligence. It monitors and controls individual streetlights to meet local requirements using a Web based portal.
Based on weather conditions or pre-defined schedules, this system is capable of increasing or decreasing the intensity of light, thereby providing optimisation capability and making efficient use of power. It also supplies the administrator with intelligent notifications and alerts regarding failure of lamps and automatic scheduling of repairs via emails or short messaging service (SMS).
Prabhu says, “Real-time control on Google Maps to track energy consumption and savings is also possible.” There could be a few products of this nature available in the market today. “What sets this apart is a robust software platform, which provides complete end-to-end solution for Big Data handling (of millions of devices), which is unique,” she adds.
The platform is licensed to customers, and Bosch will get the licence cost from the solution. Street lighting system operators benefit by better service quality and reduced operational costs by getting transparency and automation in the system. Society, on the other hand, will get the benefit of uninterrupted power supply and better lighting.
Brief working of the solution
SSLMS uses Raspberry Pi and M2M software platform from Bosch Software Innovations. “The M2M software platform acts as the basis for integrated M2M solutions operating in the IoT and services,” informs Prabhu. It consists of three major building blocks, which are:
Device integration. These use device drivers running on M2M back-end hubs.
Applications. These are artefacts such as business process management (BPM) based processes, business rules management (BRM) based guidelines or third-party applications leveraging device capabilities.
M2M device management. This acts as middleware between the two blocks mentioned above.
The application server is hosted on cloud infrastructure, informs Prabhu. She says, “The streetlamp data is aggregated at a Bosch-developed control unit deployed on a Raspberry Pi board.”
“Data processing and storage is done using Bosch’s IoT Suite platform, built for M2M communication. The application can be run on any smartphone device. The lamp is an induction lamp with Zigbee communication capabilities,” she adds.
Challenges faced along the way
Most of the difficulties faced by the team were software-related. “It took three months to adapt the software platform to the lighting system. But the hardware development of the connected lighting ballast and server platform software was being worked on from quite some time,” notes Prabhu.
Understanding communication patterns of lamps and integration with the Bosch device control unit was a difficult task. She adds, “Building M2M portable software to fit to different lighting systems and communication channels was a challenge.”
Benchmarking of various kinds of lighting systems and selection of platforms that address the issues, which are also scalable and secure, were some other problems that the team overcame. Prabhu says, “Even though there were location-specific issues such as inconsistency of wireless connectivity faced during initial pilots, these were solved with the technical-domain competency available within Bosch teams.”
The road ahead
In the future, additional features like weather report integration, predictive fault repair and integrated warranty management can be added based on requirement. This smart street lighting solution provides a stable infrastructure for outdoor-lighting management.
Prabhu says, “We believe that in the near future, the streetlight would lead to building an intelligent distributed network that helps in city security, traffic management and for city communication.”