Technology, UAE

UAE gears up to host region’s first IoT lighting conference

Dubai is set to put the spotlight on how smart lighting solutions are making their way to the UAE market as the country pursues its aim of developing smart cities.

The one-day conference focusing on IoT lighting – the first of its kind in the region – will be part of the expansive knowledge programme of Middle East Electricity, the world’s largest annual power industry trade platform.

The conference will debut on the show’s first day – Tuesday, March 5th – at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) with experts from the Middle East, South America, Europe, India and the USA probing the advances possible from leveraging IoT within the lighting sector and its ability to transform lifestyles.

Smart street lighting is emerging as a key theme with speakers predicting its impact on the MENA region as the role of lighting evolves from merely illuminating highways to providing social, environmental and operational cost benefits.

Scott Fennelly, director, Transportation at UAE-based Solutions Mobility Consultants, believes the benefits for the Emirates are multi-faceted.

“Further enhancements to already innovative smart street lighting solutions can assist in developing truly Smart Cities,” explained Fennelly. “These solutions will improve the environment and the sustainability of cities, provide added benefits for the public, and reduce the costs associated with maintenance for various authorities and developers.”

Smart street lights, adds Fennelly, will be perfect bases to collect vital data about urban traffic, pollution, weather conditions and people flow. Looking further ahead, advanced IoT technologies could see future pedestrians generate power by walking on pressure-sensor footpaths and even the introduction of navigational headsets which will allow the visually impaired to use sensors in lamp-posts to help them ‘hear’ their surroundings as a 3D soundscape.

“The introduction of smart and intelligent lighting systems and future technology goes far beyond the possibility of powering street lighting with renewable energy. Through integrated IoT platforms and the use of Big Data, authorities can mine invaluable data which will assist in reducing the city’s carbon footprint, maintenance costs, energy consumption and providing a more sustainable city. Smart street lighting areas can also be used to recharge electric vehicles, offer hotspots for WiFi connections, charge hubs for the public within walkable areas, or provide elements of smart way-finding by pushing notifications to phone applications which improve the public’s lifestyles and provide easier access to services,” said Fennelly.

The conference opens with a talk on how IoT lighting will help establish the UAE as a global smart city, by creating an ITS highway via lighting systems. Necessary legal frameworks for data sharing will also be discussed. These plans will be outlined by Eng. Ammar Majed Safi, the Senior Electrical and Development Engineer, and Innovation Team Member at the UAE Ministry of Infrastructure Development.

In addition, a panel of experts will explore strategies for planning, launching and maintaining a public space IoT lighting system and endeavor to pinpoint where the best initial applications for the Middle East would be, including lighting as a platform for wireless connectivity (LiFi).

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