Smart Cities

Scaling Innovation in Smart Cities

Text by John Cannon

Smart CitiesPicture a San Francisco where every parking meter automatically lowers its prices during off-peak hours, where buses are shuttled from one part of the city to another in response to real-time traffic data, and where pumps began siphoning water from the gutters to keep streets from flooding the minute it starts to rain, all under the control of a central hub. That snapshot is not a reality yet, but a newcomer to the Bay Area and the American market has designs on changing that.

Paradox Engineering recently won a Living Labs Global Award, allowing the Swiss company to implement a program in the city of San Francisco that uses light poles as the communicating nodes of an expandable wireless network. To celebrate, they’ve invited the community and the media to swissnex San Francisco on November 15 to meet with the Ticino, Switzerland-based company’s founders, experts in smart city development, and representatives from the city for Smart Cities: The Making of.

San Francisco has set the ambitious goal cutting its carbon emissions to zero by the year 2030. But to accomplish that goal, many of the time- and resource-intensive processes that it takes to run San Francisco will have to be streamlined. To that end, city leaders selected Paradox Engineering’s PE.AMI Lighting Management solution because it allows the city to wirelessly control its streetlights. Studies show that road lighting can eat up as much as one-third of a city’s electricity budget, but this system may reduce that figure by as much as 60 percent.

PE.AMI is a wireless communication platform that allows information to travel both ways—from a central base sending commands to the nodes, which in this case are streetlights, and then back from the streetlights to the base. This “bidirectional” flow of information allows for much more efficient information gathering from the field. Initially, that will allow the city to control the intensity of the street lamps based on the available sunlight and other factors.

But this platform also makes the system scalable, providing “the capability to integrate some of San Francisco’s other utility and urban service devices,” according to a statement by the city. Moreover, they say, “Paradox Engineering succeeded by minimizing wireless communication infrastructure while maximizing functionality. Their products could be good for San Francisco’s budget and for our urban landscape.”

At the heart of this flexibility are the open standards on which Paradox Engineering’s technologies are based, ensuring interoperability with other systems and devices. PE.AMI therefore is a multi-application platform that works not only with existing infrastructures, but also those that will be developed in the future.

“We’ll invest in this pilot project to showcase how PE.AMI can improve street lighting management by creating a solid platform for wireless control and management,” says Gianni Minetti, who is the president and CEO of Paradox Engineering. “We are also ready to share our expertise and knowledge to strategically leverage the urban light poles network and create a citywide platform for other urban services serving present and future needs, such as smart metering, electric vehicle charging station management, and traffic signal coordination.”

To request an invitation to Thursday’s event, visit our event page.