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City of London tests waters in use of IoT

26/02/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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City of London Corporation has begun to use internet of things (IoT) sensors on with a software platform originally deployed to manage its LED streetlights.

City of London from the Thames

The authority has installed traffic and air quality sensors as part of an experimental emissions free zone in Beech Street and around Bank Junction, and placed some with lifebelts beside the River Thames.

Its highways manager, Giles Radford, told UKAuthority that this follows the completion of its roll out of LED lighting around the city’s square mile, accounting for about 12,000 lights and providing energy savings of approximately 80,000kWh over the past financial year.

The project involved the use of a mesh network installed with technology company Itron conforming to Wi-SUN Alliance standards and a software system from Urban Control.

This has now been harnessed for the early trials of the sensors. The main project is focused on measuring the traffic volume and air quality over 18 months as part of a scheme that only allows zero emission vehicles – effectively electric cars and vans – into the Beech Street tunnel except for accessing off-street premises.

“We’re using modern technology to collect data and make the right decisions, and to explain what we are trying to achieve,” Radford said.  

“Once we can prove it works in Beech Street it makes the business case better for investing in the technology for the future. We try it in these locations, utilise it, monitor it, review it, then when we have a more stable environment we look to invest across the city, but have to bid for the money internally.”

Riverside deployment

This has been accompanied by a programme to fit I-Tech sensors to lifebelt holders along the riverside to the control system will be alerted when they have been removed.

This is in a response to a problem – more notable before the pandemic reduced the number of people in the area – with lifebelts going missing. The alerts will ensure they are quickly replaced.

Radford said he is not aware of this being done elsewhere, and that the solution is scalable that it could be used in other places.

There is also the possibility of deploying IoT technology for other functions.

“We’re very much still at the trial stage, but we have more chance of getting the money if we can say we have given it a good trial and it works,” he said, adding: “In a perfect world we would have scaled all this up but now the pandemic has hit us hard in terms of moving forward.”

He also said that there are plans to join up the teams, such as transport and air quality, within one operation for smart city, and that the corporation is also joining up some operations with the police under the Secure City operation.

Image from iStock, Victor Huang

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