Nestled snugly between Düsseldorf and the bustling metropolis of Cologne, the city of Langenfeld is, as its name (long field) suggests, a green city. The city is keen to preserve its scenic landscapes and quality of life for its residents while embracing all the challenges that modern day life brings.
In 2019, it launched the “Future City Langenfeld” plan to deliver a better future for its growing population. It wants to use technology to improve services and ensure a high quality of life for its residents. One of the first projects involved a smart parking app to bring people into the city centre and boost the retail sector which was facing tough competition from the bigger cities nearby.
The city sees lighting infrastructure as the ideal backbone for its smart city initiatives. It is eager to test different technologies before scaling up and deploying across the city. In 2019, the local authorities set-up a smart city lab in Langfort Park.
Smart city lab
This large park, with its playground for the kids, café at the edge of the pond where people can grab something to eat and plenty of large green fields to play sport makes it quite a popular spot for families. The luminaires had been installed over 40 years, so they needed to be replaced. It was an ideal area to showcase new services and have residents test them.
Furthermore, as no traffic can enter the park, the infrastructure could be easily installed and accessed over time.
With the city wanting to offer different services in a modular and aesthetic system, the SHUFFLE was the ideal platform. With its clean lines, the SHUFFLE not only delivers light but also integrates a variety of different modules such as cameras, loudspeakers, intercoms, EV chargers in a neat design.
The city decided to install 30 SHUFFLE columns all controlled by Owlet IoT and fitted with detection sensors. Four of the columns are fitted with cameras, six with WiFi and one with a microphone.
A sustainable light
The lighting was designed from the outset to provide guidance and to create a comfortable and pleasurable experience for the public so they would socialise, exercise, eat and enjoy the facilities.
The SHUFFLE delivers a soft, uniform warm white light throughout the park. Citizens really appreciate the warm white light, which thanks to a higher colour rendering index, reveals the true beauty of the green spaces by night.
In addition, some of the previous dark zones are now lit up.
Reducing energy consumption was also a key driver. The luminaires are dimmed according to 6 different scenarios:
- switch on - 6.30am: 50%
- 7am - 9am: 70%
- 9am - 5pm: switch off
- 5pm - 8pm: 70%
- 8pm - 10.30pm: 50%
- 10.30pm - 6.30am: switch off
In addition, the luminaires are fitted with a photocell which overrides the scheduled dimming so that the light only switches on when the natural daylight is too low. If people arrive, the sensors detect their presence and the lighting levels are increased to 90%. The cameras heighten the sense of security and safety.
In the near future, the microphone will be programmed to detect noise and indicate a potentially dangerous situation by increasing the noise level.
By only providing light when and where it is needed, the city will also be reducing light spill to protect the faune and flora in the park.
Starry sky programme
The SHUFFLE also directs the light towards the ground, significantly reducing light pollution compared to the old sphere fixtures, in line with the city’s “Starry Sky” programme.
In addition to the energy savings, the significant reduction in light pollution is also very important.
Connectivity for all
The WiFi is delivered by fibre optic cables in the column - a first! The free WiFi gives visitors the possibility to stay longer as they can simply relax and read, write to friends and family and even share those special moments straight away.
Access to real-time data
As part of the city’s initiatives to become more sustainable, it also wants to avoid an increase in air pollution that further contributes to climate change and has an impact on the health and well-being of residents. They wanted to receive ‘real-time’ air quality data via an environmental sensor.
Data is collected every 5 minutes from the sensor and sent using the WiFi in the SHUFFLE. It is then available in the UrbanPulse platform, managed by [ui!] - the Urban Institute GROUP to help monitor air pollution in the area.
A weather sensor was also installed in the park. It measures multiple parameters (temperature, air pressure, air humidity, wind direction and speed) to gather data that will be analysed and ultimately used to inform citizens of potential extremes in weather.
Driving public benefits
A year after the installation, both the city and the local community are delighted with the new infrastructure which ensures a high-quality, multi-functional public space.
By day, the SHUFFLE columns have a minimal impact on landscape while providing a valuable, quality WiFi coverage for everyone. When the sun sets, it enables people to linger and appreciate the green spaces for even longer.
The residents also value the availability of the data captured from the sensors on the city’s web site.
The local authorities appreciate the operational benefits, especially the improved efficiency that the smart lighting infrastructure brings with less energy consumption, light spill and light pollution. It is helping them to meet their sustainable development goals.
The improved sense of safety and free WiFi is also bringing more people into the park, boosting social interaction and community relationships.
The city now plans to deploy the technology in the nearby Solinger Strasse and use the data to improve traffic and mobility. It’s certainly got their thinking caps on what more they could achieve with their digital infrastructure ambitions.