Jakarta IOT-enabling 10,000 Streetlights

With technology from gridComm and LED company Siklon Energy Nusantara, the Indonesian city can remotely view street lamp functionality and adjust the lighting's intensity.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 16, 2015

The Indonesian city of Jakarta is in the first of multiple phases implementing smart streetlights that will be able to dim based on environmental conditions, as well as send information about their functionality to the city's command center, enabling predictive maintenance. GridComm's Street Light Management Solution (SLMS) allows the city to monitor power consumption and the streetlights' working conditions, both in real time and historically, and to program the lights to dim at specific times. GridComm partnered with LED lighting provider Siklon Energy Nusantara, which installed the Internet of Things technology.

The solution employs powerline communication (PLC) two-way communication with a gateway device, utilizing the same wire line used to power the LED lights. The system also supports wireless or Ethernet connections between a gateway and a cloud-based server.

At each streetlight, Siklon Energy Nusantara installs a PLC Smart Light Controller module behind the lamp's existing driver, making the streetlight capable of sending and receiving data and receiving commands for controlling illumination levels.
GridComm was launched in 2012 by four co-founders who had helped to design communication chips used in the utilities industry. "We saw an immediate opportunity for power line communication," says co-founder Mike Holt, in order to create grids in which utilities or municipalities would be able to remotely view what was happening with their network of lights. However, he says, wireless systems didn't work well in areas where they were most needed, such as in Asia, where electrical noise prevented the wireless transmission of data.

GridComm co-founder Mike Holt
"Streetlights are more than just devices that light streets," says Holt, explaining that they can also serve as good places on which to mount sensors for measuring traffic, weather, pollution or light levels. These could be installed on the poles, he says, but would need a way to send that data back. Since wireless service is not always reliable, gridComm's co-founders built a system for transmitting data via the existing powerline. Utilities utilize such wired system to pull data from power meters.

"Existing power line solutions use a single channel for communication over the copper wire," Holt says. The gridComm system, on the other hand, consists of 18 independent channels on which data can flow on the copper wire.

At each streetlight, Siklon Energy Nusantara is installing a PLC Smart Light Controller module behind the lamp's existing driver. Each module has its own IP address so that it can be individually identified and addressed, thereby enabling a user to send and receive data from that device, as well as deliver commands for controlling illumination levels. The technology works with LED lights, as well as with sodium vapor or other types of high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps.

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