Feb 10, 2017: Smart LED streetlights are evolving and will be the next big thing as more and more cities across the globe convert into smart cities, and this trend will continue for the next several years. As costs for networked LED streetlights rapidly decline, these will find a growing role in cities and municipalities across the globe.
The next big thing
Smart LED streetlights will transform cities and municipalities across the globe over the next decade. But in the next few years, LED streetlights are expected to reach cost parity with legacy technologies (and in some cases already have), making their benefits to costs immediately positive. At this point, they will make economic sense as replacements in almost all countries. Also, many emerging market countries are rapidly urbanizing and in need of improved urban infrastructure, creating further drivers for this market.
A major driver for smart LED streetlighting is the growing appreciation by city governments for its efficiency. And smart LED streetlighting is considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors in IoT.
Smart LED streetlights not only promise energy efficiency and dramatically reduce energy costs, but also can be increasingly used as platforms to deliver several valuable services like noise sensing, public safety functions, traffic and parking management, Wi-Fi and much more. And all these will provide additional cost savings and enhance quality of urban life.
Markets growing rapidly
Over the last five years, the adoption rate for smart street lighting has steadily increased as cities realize the benefits it can provide and the energy it can save.
About 315 million streetlights are operating in countries across the globe, which has been estimated to grow to 359 million by 2026.
From 2016 to 2026, global investment in LED street lighting is expected to be US$57 billion. While smart street lighting is a global phenomenon, Europe and the Americas are the largest markets. The technology has immense potential as many markets are growing rapidly like India, China and Poland as these countries are already engaged in many smart city projects. In fact, the Asia-Pacific market for smart streetlights is experiencing the fastest growth.
However, there are some challenges. One school of thought as well as residents are concerned about the blue ‘color’ of LED lighting and its potential impact on human health, and the environment. They also point out that there are dark areas where where LED light does not reach.
Another limitation is lack of standardization for smart LED streetlights as well as other technologies and control protocols that will be integrated with smart streetlights.
Despite these limitations, experts believe that smart LED streetlights will dominate the market for years to come.