The federal government has earmarked an initial $50 million to help develop smart, interconnected cities across the country, with smart lighting a major focus of the plan.
Outlined in the recent federal budget, the goal of the Smart Cities Plan is to construct “30 minute cities” to allow residents to access all essential work, school and lifestyle services within walking distance.
The injection of funds will go towards developing business cases and investment options for major infrastructure projects, and will be overseen by Angus Taylor, selected to be Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation.
Adelaide has already embraced the plan, after conducting an Australian-first trial of intelligent street lighting technology in a bid to improve energy efficiency and test the future viability of smart street lighting technology.
The trial involved the installation of 64 LED street lights across Adelaide, which have been designed to dim when not required, as well as harvest light from other ambient light sources within the area.
Additionally, the lights can communicate and provide real-time monitoring usage statistics and future breakages back to the city council, allowing for quicker response times to outages.
Meanwhile, the City of Melbourne is also embracing energy efficient street lighting and is currently in the process of converting 14,000 lights to LED technology.
Team leader of industrial design at City of Melbourne, Ian Dryden, said smart street lighting was important for its technical advantages over traditional lighting arrangements.
“The great thing with smart lighting is that it’s all going to be low energy. Not only does it communicate with itself very well, it also turns on and off with the flick of a switch. It’s all very instant,” Dryden said in a statement.
The City of Sydney has also installed more than 5,000 LED street lights, which has reduced the city’s energy usage by more than 48 per cent since March 2012, a cost savings of almost $800,000 in reduced energy usage.
With energy efficient lighting technologies within Australia in the spotlight, lighting experts – along with 40 local councils – are set to gather to discuss the impact of smart lighting technology at the 4th Annual Australian Smart Lighting Summit 2016 to be held at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre on the 6th 7th of September.