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Smart street lights are coming to China. (Time for your city to take a look?)

Submitted by doug.peeples on March 11, 2016

China has been taking smart cities seriously for years and is following an ambitious strategy to build them throughout the country. It doesn't have much choice. China's population of about 1.4 billion is expected to roughly double in 15 years, and most of those people will live in cities.

The Council and its members are doing their part to help Chinese cities achieve livability, workability and sustainability. Lead Partner Itron, for instance, supplied smart meters and more for Tianjin, the smart city showcase that is the subject of the article below. And the Council has signed MOUs with two leading Chinese agencies, the Zhong Cheng Smart City Construction Research Society and the China Center for Urban Development.

And now GE is helping Tianjin install smart street lights. And not just LED bulbs – the system has a wide range of other benefits, as you will read. From where I sit, every city should have smart street lights some day. The question is when. I think they usually make sense early, because they have a rapid payback (thanks to energy savings from the new bulbs). And because they can provide the backbone for lots of other applications. Do you have them on your roadmap yet? – Jesse Berst

What Council Lead Partner GE's energy company, Current, will bring to its partnership with the Tianjin city government is an intelligent lighting network and GE's Predix connectivity and data management platform. The project will cover a section of Tianjin's Central Business District and will be what Current describes as the first clean and energy efficient demonstration city in the country.

Tianjin was one of 10 cities chosen by the Chinese government a few years ago as the most suitable for smart city investment and development.

"By cooperation with our local partner, we are extremely proud of what the many benefits our LED and intelligent technology will have for the city. The installation introduces a technology that provides significant energy savings and will allow the city to shine smarter," said Henry Eng, President and CEO for GE Lighting Asia.

Current, working with local company Tianjin High-Trend Company, is expected to create a more livable city, more services for citizens and better asset management. Some of the specific benefits the intelligent lighting network will bring include

  • WiFi coverage
  • Public information services
  • Air quality monitoring and alerts
  • Cloud platform management
  • A variety of smart city apps

Of course, the Tianjin smart city demo isn't GE's first venture in China. The company has provided equipment and services for China's offshore wind energy development and its rail transportation system, among others.

Several Council partners in addition to GE have been active in security and other smart cities efforts in China, including Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Itron and Associate Partner Siemens.

Related articles…
Council's Chinese partnership to benefit smart cities worldwide
Asia’s smart cities: Are they doing it right?
China's big plans to be the global leader in smart city technology

Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.