Intellistreets: Covering All the Bases
(Originally published in Landscape Architect Magazine, April 2010)
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A newly patented invention, Intellistreets, will provide real estate developers and city planners a solution that offers energy conservation, homeland security, revenue generation, traffic monitoring, public safety, aesthetic and way-finding applications... and it's all in one unit, and completely invisible.
Connected with its own wireless mesh network and controlled with an easy-to-use user interface accessible via any remote Internet connection, Intellistreets is being touted as the ultimate urban virtual technology framework - a wireless, programmable digital infrastructure with sophisticated lighting, multimedia, information, emergency, security and revenue-generation applications. The mesh nature of the wireless network enables the network to remain highly resilient and flexible. If a light pole becomes damaged and can no longer communicate with the rest of the Intellistreets system, the wireless mesh network will heal itself and continue to function.
An appealing feature of the Intellistreets platform is the way in which the base concept is forward-compatible with a host of future applications. This includes everything from sponsorship, advertising and branding opportunities through the use of targeted audio and digital signage to site-specific information about the latest retail sales and special events, and even the ability to capture valuable information such as foot-fall counts and other data mining possibilities. The optional LED digital video displays provide revenue-generating potential for private developers and municipalities, as signage can be easily customized to suit a specific tenant, event or promotion. In an emergency situation, they could provide video applications for AmberAlerts and the like. It offers:
- Lighting control for energy conservation and theming (not set to timers, but reactive to natural lighting at environment).
- Energy conservation: reduced power usage via smart sensors and real-time reporting.
- Homeland security notification: emergency alerts, lighted evacuation routes, amber alert warnings, etc., via attached alert lights and digital signage.
- Hazardous environment alerts: sensors for gas, radiation, etc., can trigger public safety alerts.
- Concealed audio: for ambience, or for emergency public address.
- Footfall sensors to monitor and report foot and vehicular traffic.
- LED signage: replacing static vinyl banners typically attached to light poles, providing revenue generation opportunities for property owners and municipalities.
- Programmable wayfinding: LED displays instead of metal street signs, allowing for customization and adaptation.
Intelligence is the Difference
Unlike other control and energy management systems, this one is intelligent. Not only is it possible to control or schedule functions such as lighting and audio, the system's components can adapt to changes in the environment without any human intervention. If a light pole is damaged, neighboring light poles can route around the damage and continue to function. If communication throughout the system is disrupted for any reason, each light pole has the ability to continue to function independently. The Intellistreets system has the ability to learn over time, allowing unprecedented flexibility and automation.
In the future, additional features are expected to come online, including options such as downloadable maps and digital information packets for visitors, parking-meter capabilities, and even a portal to recharge hybrid or electric cars.