Smart City Platforms and Their Powerful Applications with Chris Davis of Cimcon Lighting / Hosted by Jim Frazer

By Jim Frazer

Category:
Industry Trends

In the latest installment of ARC's Smart Cities Podcast, we speak to Chris Davis of Cimcon Lighting a provider of open smart city platforms. This discussion includes specifics on of Smart City applications and technologies with a focus on control platforms and the broad range of legacy and developing applications that they enable  We have included the (slightly) edited transcript below. You can now subscribe to the ARC Smart Cities Podcast through Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify.

 

 

 

Jim Frazer:    Welcome to another episode of the Smart City Viewpoints smart cities podcast. I'm Jim Frazer, vice president of the Smart Cities team here at Arc Advisory Group. Today our guest is Chris Davis, vice president of smart cities and strategic alliances at Cimcon lighting. Welcome, Chris.


Chris Davis:    Thanks for having me, Jim. It's always good to reconnect with you.


Jim Frazer:    Hey, great let me ask you, can you start with a little bit of background of how did Chris Davis arrive in the smart city domain?

 

What is a Smart City Platform?


Chris Davis:   It's an interesting journey. My background really comes from the factory automation process control world. From that it segued into a high performance buildings and now in the smart cities, and at the end of the day, all three of those segments, you start with how do you do better? how can you use data, how can you use controls? How can use sensors to deliver better outcomes? So in the case of factories of higher efficiencies and quality, in the case of buildings, it's higher building efficiency and building comfort for the occupants. And then in cities it's all about outcomes. So how can you use data that comes out of city assets? It helps cities run better and deliver that, and makes the city a better place to live and work - it's pretty straight forward.


How Do You Choose a Backhaul Technology?


Jim Frazer:   Okay. So I know that, here at Arc we've talked about the nine vertical applications of a smart city and, the seven technologies that impact them. I know that you're involved in smart city platforms. So let me start with a relatively focused question that as city officials and utilities that are planning to implement smart city applications they often are faced with choices regarding what networking technology is best for each service. You might have some low bandwidth devices, some higher bandwidth devices, and many of these remote assets are usually outdoors. All of them require a communications back haul. what are some factors that are to be considered in choosing that back haul selection?


Chris Davis:   That's a great question. And it's a topic that we could spend hours on. And of course, you'd have advocates for various types of technologies. I think when we talk to cities and utilities they often look at, what is the cost to deploy these infrastructures to transmit data. you also have to look at what is the requirement and what type of data and what kind and how much latency or bandwidth do you need? There's also the issue of security, cybersecurity that is, and there's also the issue of resiliency of the network. So there seems to have evolved, let's say three different camps right now. I don't think there's a clear winner. they all, selection depends like we've talked about earlier on the use case, but, sort of the one camp is what I would call RF networks, but that's a point to multipoint network.

 

The Impact of 5G


Chris Davis:   examples would be Lora, would be a RPMA , it could be SIGFOX. The next is a lot of6LOWPAN based networks and these are often used by utilities for advanced metering infrastructure. They're mesh based and self forming, which is appealing and very good. And that you can support, multiple services or applications on one architecture and then sort of coming up now and being pushed very hard by the telcos is cellular narrow band, IOT, - there's a lot of talk about 5G. So it's kind of a war. So my opinion is that it really goes back to the use case and cost. The utility type networks are great because they are highly resilient and they're very secure. they're more complex. A lot of people like narrow band IOT because the device can talk over a cell network and, let's say the city, they don't really have to worry about deploying the network that's handled by the telco. So it's hard to say. I think you're going to end up with hybrid networks and you'll have a little of this, a little more of that and the market will settle it out. Great topic, particularly with 5G coming along.


Jim Frazer::    And that leads into a related question that the, all of these backhaul technologies are not static. I know that, I'm involved in transportation domain and the advent of 5G really solves a hardware cost issue, for roadside connected vehicle equipment that, was an obstacle a few years ago but is not looking as much of an obstacle due to 5G's low latency and the fact that it will be available on a subscription charge rather than an upfront cost, being acquired by the state or city DLT. so most of these are all in motion. 5G is coming on and there's other technologies as well, aren't there?


Chris Davis:    I think 5G's interesting because you raise a good point. It really talks about, low latency, obviously a high performance, right near real time and great capacity. but at least here in the U S the frequencies are such that the cells need to be fairly close to each other. And some conversations that we've had with the telcos - you're looking at distances of transmission distances of anywhere from 300 to let's say a thousand feet that says you've got to have a lot of cells and many people believe that you have to have fiber backhauls. So to me that says least initially, based on the current state of the technology that you're going to have 5G and more densely settled areas. So would a Massachusetts or Florida department of transportation could put 5G cells along the highway when they've got to be fairly close to each other and need fiber back haul.

 

5G, Connected Vehicles and Intelligent Transportation Systems 


Jim Frazer:    So, it's interesting, just to finish with a last transportation anecdote for now is that, connected vehicle technology broadcasts their logical objects a hundred meters or 300 feet. So if you have roadside equipment that's listening, it needs to be within a hundred meters of that connected vehicle connected by or connected bicyclist. So the, there there's been quite a bit of angst in the public budgeting process for putting a piece of roadside equipment every 300 feet in critical areas. And now with the advent of 5G in particularly, it's low latency, you need a few millisecond response time. If one car is converging on another, that that problem may be going away. So it's a fascinating world.


Chris Davis:   Yeah. What, I don't understand. with respect to 5G vehicles, are the vehicles going to talk to each other, let's say each, does each vehicle become a 5g small cell if we will. And is it talking directly to the vehicles around it and not going through some infrastructure or does the, is it a device like your cell phone where it's gotta talk through, like a tower, right, like a small cell?


Jim Frazer:    That's a good question. And there are two competing protocols there. The higher level use case really is for vehicles to talk to each other and to pedestrians and vice versa without an intermediary. But if you need to pull your traffic signal in there for eco driving where the signal turns green, upon the approach, we'll say, a group of cars or if you want the cross walk to remain enabled for the pedestrian, even though they haven't pressed the button - then you need that fixed roadside infrastructure. But the most dramatic benefits arguably are going to be between, without necessarily the 5G, just that a hundred meter low latency communications between connected vehicles and connected pedestrians and bicyclists. TheU S D O T has a pretty aggressive statement that says they believe they can eliminate up to 80% of non alcohol related incidents


Chris Davis:   they're part of their vision zero initiative.


Jim Frazer:    And the connected vehicle issue. So it's quite fascinating. But let's get back to the, more general smart city discussion. Both of us come from the lighting domain. and so let me focus on lighting. It's generally well accepted that smart and connected lighting is one of the first, if not the primary application to becoming a smart city - how does lot connected lighting infrastructure enable, facilitate the deployment of the range of these other IOT and edge device applications. What are the low hanging fruit in terms of applications that cities are looking to deploy?

 

What are the Near-Term Smart City Platform Applications?


Chris Davis:    All right, that's a great question. Let me start at the fundamentals. Jim, if you look at a smart and connected lighting, the value proposition for the application is quite strong. Approximately 40% of the city's electricity budget goes to outdoor lighting and remembers that I'm going to cite now actually come from the energy information agency of the department of energy. So it's generally well accepted that if you put in LEDs, you can cut your energy spend by about 50%. And if you put in controls, you end up with the ability to save another 10 to 20, maybe 30% on being energy - based upon how aggressive you are with respect to dimming and brightening schedules. And one benefit of lighting beyond just the energy savings is obviously a sustainability impact is that you can provide light levels to the citizen at the level needed when it's needed.


Chris Davis:   And that obviously has an impact on, public safety and let's say city presentation. For me and you who come from a different background. I think that that's, those factors are important but I focus more on if that outdoor lighting is connected and we know the status of it all the time, we can do a much better job of managing that asset because that asset has a useful life of anywhere from 10 to 20 years. There was some interesting numbers that came out of a Southern utility and they estimated that even with LEDs which are more reliable than high pressure sodium or hid lighting, that there's going to be about 10% of the lighting infrastructure is going to require some type of maintenance over a period of a year. And without controls where the luminaire is dominant, it's just controlled by a photocell. The industry averages are, it takes about 2.6 truck rolls or that light to be fixed.

 

The Smart City Platform Business Case and ROI


Chris Davis:   One is diagnosis or confirmation of a customer call. You might be surprised to know that the city of the New York city department of transportation pays outside contractors in excess of $13 million a year to have trucks driven up and down the streets looking for lights that burned during the daytime or lights that don't come on at night. So there's one truck roll is okay is an on, off what's the problem? The second truck was to fix it and often the a utility or a city doesn't have good information on that particular light. So on average it's about 2.6 truck rolls to fix a light.


Jim Frazer:   Wow.


Chris Davis:    You have to have a police officer there, right. Depending upon who you talk to, just to roll a truck up to a pole is anywhere from 200 to $800 depending on where you are in the union. And so this southern utility estimated and their data showed after controls that they could cut the number of trips in half. So they use a very low number, $200 then you put in a controller that's $100. they figure that the payback on that is about 3.8 years. It's probably better than that. Another benefit is less number of calls to the call center, more efficient routing of trucks cause we know that the lights are out, so on and so forth. So that's a starting point. There's a strong ROI there.


Jim Frazer:   Well let me jump in here because before you get to the all the applications, because as I'm the chair of the Illuminating Engineering Society's Roadway Lighting Committee and we often talk about that exact issue and the, the ethos there and some of the discussions have centered around if I bought a new led fixture, it may last 20 years. It gives me an incredible payback. It at minimum is a 50% energy savings. It could be 60 or 70. And as a result, the that is so dramatic that you touch it once, you might not touch it for 20 years. Unfortunately, the very strong business cases around controls have not been examined as much, simply because it's been blacked out by a six month or a one year payback on energy. What hasn't been accurately described very well - but you just did it very eloquently is the number of truck rolls to actually do a repair because most agencies just count it as one truck roll. They believe they have all the parts on the truck, they touch it and it's fixed and they go and they move on. Nor do they even have very good cost accounting. And some agencies will call that truck roll -zero cost because the trucks bought and the guys already on staff.


Chris Davis:   Those are funny numbers as you know. And I think, I think the industry as a whole has not done a really good job of articulating the value proposition. Right. The other thing if you look at the way cities traditionally operate, there's so much focus on the CapEx side of the equation, right? And these numbers that I cite come from the work that I did at Schneider Electric for a long time, both in factory automation and in high performance buildings. And if you look at the life cycle cost of a, of a building or particularly outdoor lighting only about 20% or so is CapEx. And so that would be, design, engineering, financing and acquisition of the asset. The other 80% is energy and this MRO maintenance, repair and operation and cities don't focus on that.


Chris Davis:    And despite the fact that the LED manufacturers claim that and they have a 15 or 20 year useful life the data, again from utilities we talked to, seemed to suggest that there are going to be some failures and it may not be the LEDs, but more often, particularly in harsh weather conditions would be the power electronics, the drivers and the electronics inside that provide power to the LEDs themselves. So there's some significant advantages. again, the Southern utility significant reduction in call center volume. There was one case, and I don't know if I can remember the numbers exactly, but it was Florida power & Light and they looked at their ability to respond to outages due to hurricanes and before controls. they had a lot of lights that were knocked out. I think it was by Hurricane Irma.


Chris Davis:    Long story short, 57,000 customer calls and a bunch of patrols or truck rolls to figure out what lights were out and it really took them two months before they could start to generate work orders and tickets to repair these lights. In a second hurricane that hit, which had broader impact, showed that, they didn't have to roll trucks to figure out where the lights were out because they knew because their lights were smart and connected. It still had the same number of customer calls my lights out. They were able to start to generate repair orders and tickets and start to bring the lighting back up in two days. So you get a lot of really good information about where the outages are on a very granular basis. I'll give you one example here in the Boston area, which is I think telling, and I would ask our listeners, how do you put a value on this?


Chris Davis:    We received a call from one of our customers that was installing lighting up here in the Metro Boston area a year ago, February, a bad snow storm coming. There were some power outages and the CEO called and said, I know we're not installed fully yet, so we don't have access to the lighting management software - but can you tell us where based upon your data, the street lights are out, because we've got this storm coming and we need to know, again, they're not the utility and they're not responsible for the lights. And so we were able to produce a report and send it over some Google map that showed where the lighting was out. And I called him back. It was the CEO and I said, why are you asking? What's the use case? You said, well, we're a rural suburban area. We have a lot of retirees and senior citizens.


Chris Davis:    They don't drive. And so if we know the power's out in this area due to the streetlight not being on, we'll know where we know where they are, we can actually send a truck to go check and make sure they're okay. Evacuate them out of their house if the power's going be out for a long time delivering meals on wheels and things like that. So here you have a senior council on aging, senior citizen benefit coming from the lighting. And that would be a use case that those of us in industry never would've thought up, right? So there's also this resiliency and sort of collateral tangential benefits that come from smart and connected lighting. And there are others that I could, I could go into.


Jim Frazer:  Certainly there's many applications. I live here in flat South Florida and there's a sewage lift stations that very many of them only have a red flashing light on them when there's something, that needs to be fixed. That's it. So in many cases down here, we're starting to see those actually being connected too. Believe it or not, streetlight networks just to send out their own service call requests. And there's many applications obviously like that.


Chris Davis:   Yeah, I mean there's some really good ones. And what's interesting is that we in the industry see a lot of RFIs and RFPs coming from and they're often talking about smart city applications. They want to do air quality monitoring. They want to do traffic counts. I want to do this, I want to do that. But fundamentally they all start with, we want to put in smart and connected lighting because the lighting is a really good platform on which to deploy other other assets, other services, and what you find once the smart connected lighting is, and Jim is that you've really got a sort of a citywide IOT communications network in place. The network that street light controllers talk over that streetlight pole is a very good piece of vertical real estate that can be monetized to put a sensor or controller out there. It's a processing point for data. And in the future, it's certainly a site for deployment of 5G small cells.


Jim Frazer:   Correct.


Chris Davis:   So applications that can be done in cities, they all, they all have their unique challenges and opportunities and they're going to tell you what they want to do in use RFIs and RFPs that come out


Jim Frazer:    correct. As you know Chris, I work with the IEEE on their smart city planning standard and there's so many of these very attractive solutions that could be possibly implemented, but it's good to see the IEEE is now starting to put together a framework and a roadmap about how to sort through these, how to find who are your stakeholders, what really are the needs? Which ones drive sustainability and economic vibrancy because there are a plethora of solutions that all at first glance look great, but some are greater than others.

 

Cisco: Smart Cities Could Realize $2.3 trillion in Potential Benefits


Chris Davis:   Yeah, yeah. I'm looking at a piece of data here. And this comes from a Cisco study that was done. I don't know how accurate it is, but basically the study indicated that cities could realize $2.3 trillion in potential benefits by 2020. Really what we're talking about here is digital transformation, right? And let me just cite a few numbers. in terms of for example, citizen experience, whatever that means, $147 billion worth of value. This one to me is a real standout public safety and security - 240 billion. Next generation workforce, $1.1 trillion. So the number is, potentially very big. Obviouslyhow big they're in each city, depends on the city itself, but I think, we're in the leading edge, you said about your work for the IEEE in terms of really identifying and freeing up and making people aware of what the potential benefits are. And I think that's something that organizations like the IEEE, and companies and consultancies like Arc really need to start working on because the benefits are there. You just have to start, peeling the layers of the union. Right?


Jim Frazer:   Yeah, that's right. And actually foundationally whether it be the IEEE or the IES sustainability really underlies a lot of this and sustainability sounds like, a green, a new age kind of word, but it really has very formally has three pillars and the first is preserving and enhancing the natural environment. The second is preserving, enhancing human quality of life. So that includes better economic opportunity, safer roads, healthier air cultural activities. But the third is the one that very often is not mentioned or simply forgotten, which is doing the first two in an economically reasonable manner. So that really when the IEEE or other trade and standards organizations look at it, they tend to look at those three and try to balance those out. Because you have to have all three. You can't have just one or two.


Jim Frazer:    And that leads me into my next question. Cities get their their revenue from taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, typically in different varying percentages around the country. That's all driven by, economic vibrancy. And part of that is the transport of people, goods, services and traffic is a tremendous negative driver for economic development of areas and for growth of local economies. So how can smart cities benefit from a smart city platform and its integration with an intelligent transportation network?

 

Edge Computing and Smart City Platforms


Chris Davis:    That's a great question. The space that we're in is, is not intelligent transportation or smart mobility, but the one thing that we do do is we have the ability through some edge computing that goes on streetlight poles to very easily host, cameras and other devices to gather, for example, traffic data. And let me give you an example of a use case. We worked with the city of Kitchener, Ontario and they're looking at a significant population growth. They wanted to diversify their transportation, modalities to prevent gridlock and they're trying to figure out how can we, sort of re-imagine these, these travel options given, population growth and density. There was a strong group of advocates in town for a redesign of streets and they are are actually, despite it being Canada and the obviously is bad winters a lot of, a lot of bicyclists, but there was no data to prove that there was actually a demand for, bicycle transportation.


Chris Davis::    And so the city of Kitchener with us and a Cisco partner, deployed some cameras outdoors and started gathering street data using some video analytics software that to count traffic and bicycles. And what they found is that there was actually quite a strong demand for cycling. They were getting anywhere from on this couple of streets that were monitored about 200 cyclists per day and about 60 to 70% of those were riding on the sidewalks for safety. So in this particular case, the ability to gather data that wasn't available through other means allowed the city to manage by facts and do urban planning and move these transportation plans forward and to get the buy-in of citizens because the way they wanted to go as generated by data. And so that obviously, if you can with good planning based upon data, improve your flow of traffic and then potentially relate that to the intersection controls themselves, you theoretically could speed up the movement of goods and services through cities.


Jim Frazer:    True. And of course, so, so that, that addresses the more formal ITS hardware that's out there. And certainly all of the USD IOT interoperability standards data can be backhauled over your or other smart city platforms. What I'm interested in is, are some of these newer applications, like an edge device that might be a license plate reader, where the edge device reads the license plate and only transmits back the actual license plate number to the department of motor vehicles. That's a real good example of interoperability of different devices on a network. And there's many applications that are standalone boxes, edge device boxes that do things like that. In the transportation domain, vehicle counters are another one, such as Bluetooth vehicle counters. Chris, let's move on to the role of telecom operators. Do you see them playing a role in smart city platforms?


Chris Davis:   Oh, absolutely. If we go back to our earlier discussion, Jim, about, what's the right network? Everybody is trying to sell infrastructure, right? So the telcos are interested in cellualr, some will deploy others and it works because they have infrastructure out there. Another group that's coming on quite strong is all the cable operators - Comcast, Cox, Charter, Centurylink. I'm sure there are a few others that I don't know of. They all have tried to figure out how do I diversify my revenue base? And so going back to that argument of if I can get access to the pole and own that's a really good piece of vertical real estate. So all of these guys are playing into this space. first is can I provide backhaul and realize recurring revenue streams for the applications that run on my network, whatever it is. And then many of them are starting to come out with their own smart city IOT platforms where they are aggregating various data sources from different use cases and providing high level dashboards. So I think it's going to be a pretty big war. We're just starting to see the skirmishes.

 

Smart City Planning and Stakeholder Communities


Jim Frazer:    Speaking of skirmishes, I think it's obvious to both of us that there's a wide variety of stakeholders in any kind of smart city project. You have government agencies and the telecom operators, technology vendors, you have engineering firms, you have integrators, HVAC contractors, you have the taxpayers, and other stake holders of the actual citizens of the bicycle community, the downtown business district. How do all those stakeholder communities, collaborate better in this space and build a really coherent ecosystem and what might be the best model for moving that collaboration forward?


Chris Davis:   That's a great question. And I can give some generalized answers. I think as the city of Boston did a really good job and they started out with a I think it's a 20, 30, or 40 year strategic plan. So that was sort of a high level, goals and objectives of where you want the city to go. And then from that they started to develop their own smart city plans. And you obviously you have all these, I call them animators that are involved, the utility, the city technology partners, engineering firms, citizens, nonprofits, academics. And so it really helps to have strong leadership in the city, coming from let's say the mayor, the city manager and often the business community to sort of bring these people together. But I think where we've seen the most success for smart city initiatives, it's where you have this collaboration led by a couple of people.


Chris Davis:   One really good example, actually I'll give you two. One really good example of the first one is connected in New York - that's a collaboration between the city of Schenectady, led by mayor Gary McCarthy. He's a great guy. Cisco's involved, Cimcon Lighting is involved. National Grid is involved and the New York Power Authority. And then you have the same cast of characters involved, just about a hundred miles away in Syracuse, New York. They've got a big smart city program going on. And in addition, they have an engineering consulting firm Gunth that's helping out and Cisco reseller Presidio. So it's almost like a, it takes a village to raise a child, right? You've got to have all these people involved because they all can bring their own capabilities and perspectives. But I would say you've got to start with really strong city leadership and ownership.


Chris Davis:    There are a couple of organizations that can help cities. Obviously the, the consultancies are involved, but, two I would highlight one is the Smart Cities Council. they've got a lot of really good materials on how to help cities get smart started. And then another one is called TM forum. They have really good smart cities maturity models. So these can be, let's call them cookbooks on how to get started. But I'd say at the end of the day, it really goes back to strong city leadership and a plan that you're working towards.

 

Smart City Stakeholder Communities and Their Consensus-based User Needs


Jim Frazer:    Well, that's interesting. Chris there, there's been quite a bit written on this particular situation about smart city planning and management. And I'm, an advocate of the, of the sequence of thoughts that a few years ago with smart city, 1.0, which quite a few researchers believe is based by vendors, suppliers, OEMs that went to market with an in most in many cases an existing solution and found some - to significant resistance. Then in smart city 2.0 they partnered and had better dialogues with elected city officials and the city manager. But many of those pilots still didn't work out as well as was expected. And the adoption rate didn't come close to forecasts, but in the smart city 3.0 model, it really is a comprehensive collection of stakeholder communities defining their consensus based user needs.


Jim Frazer:    Exhaustedly querying them about what are your needs and expectations for your city. So that might be even go down to, the bicycling community in town, the parent teacher association for kids walking home from school, the business district, as well as some of the more traditional stakeholder communities of elected officials and tax payers, the public works department, the maintainers, the city engineering from the city attorneys on. That's also the direction that the IEEE planning standard is going and it's frankly it's right in parallel with what you just voiced. So that was a great comment.


Chris Davis:   If I could go back to highlight Boston they came out, they issued an RFI, I think it's about three years ago now, where they were asking a very broad community. It was open to anybody. Take a look at our strategic plan their goals and objectives that are spelled out there. One big one was digital equity, digital inclusion and sort of last mile and accessability. And they said we want 10 pages, no more, hopefully less on ideas of how we can help the city achieve these goals. So they were reaching out to a very broad community, nonprofits, the business community, technology companies like us, utilities, everybody, they got about 130 responses I think. Some are crazy, some are really weird, but in a good way. But if you go to the city of Boston website, I think it was issued by the office of new urban mechanics, which is the innovation office, those responses are available. So again, they went really broad and very deep and again, they're looking for ideas and more inclusion. but it was all driven by, by data eventually. 


Jim Frazer:   That's great. Well, we'll, Chris, I want to thank you where we're coming up at the top of our hour. So let me just end with, with one question and it really is about livability. Many aspects of urban design and approaches to new city forms of design are really based on livability and quality of life that can really change the way communities and cities are structured. Maybe not so much around the car and maybe multimodal transportation, but there's, there's a lot of other aspects to that. So what makes a city livable?


Chris Davis:    I mean, that's a great question. Obviously, it depends on who you are and where you live, but to me, I think it's all about, do I really like it here here? And s it fine here? Do I feel safe? And I live, I'm really blessed. we live in a, North shore, Massachusetts sea coast town where the us coast guard was founded and it's just a great place to live. And does the city provide, the services that citizens want and, is there a strong economic development and cultural stuff too? So, hard it hard to answer that question. But I think that it's really about, happy citizens, happy life, you know.

 

Homework in Africa & Zombie Buildings in Schenectady - Unique Smart City Applications


Jim Frazer:  I completely agree. So, so Chris, before, before we go, let me ask one more question. What are some of the most unusual or interesting smart city use cases you have seen? I know you have quite a few of these.


Chris Davis:    Alright, I'll highlight two. And they're, they're both kind of crazy. The first one is homework.


Jim Frazer:    Okay.


Chris Davis:   Now people are probably thinking, where's ithe going with this one? We're fortunate to do a project, a pilot in Rwanda, with a satellite communications company. They were deploying some smart streetlights in downtown, Kigali, which is the capital around a conference that was going on called Smart Africa. And they also deployed some led street lights along the rural highway. And it was to really show what the potential would be. And what they found, Jim was that because the houses and villages along this rural highway, didn't have electricity, the children were going out and sitting under the street lights at night during their homework and they're dragging their book bag and little table and chairs and doing their homework under the streetlights. Our controls were there. So there was a decision made that we're going to have the led lights on full brightness during home work hours.


Chris Davis:   So that there'd be better illumination. There was a problem - and the problem was that the cell service in that area was not very good. And so the gateway that our streetlight controllers could talk to was not able to talk to the cloud based software. So no communications link basically. And so mr Stan said, no problem, we'll put it in a satellite dish. We can get to that cloud based application easily. And at the same time Inmarsat, in their foresight, put in a WiFi access point. Now we go from a dark unconnected, community to one that is now has good lighting, where kids can do their homework, they're now connected to the internet. So they're connected outside. Where else? So again, like the senior citizen example earlier, what's the longterm impact of that? Well, what's happened is that area has had this little spurt of economic growth.


Chris Davis:    They have since gone back in and they've put in some solar arrays, more lighting, energy storage. And so this, whole village has been turned around and it all started with just putting some smart and connected street lights in and letting children to do their homework. So, yeah. What's the future of those children who now can study better than not having to study with a gas lantern or a flashlight or candle? I don't know, but it's got to be, I think, quite impactful.


Jim Frazer:   That's an amazing story. Wow.


Chris Davis:   And I can do one more if we have time. This one, this one came from the city of Schenectady. The mayor was talking about he had a problem with zombies and I've got about a thousand zombies in the town, okay. And he said, a zombie is an unpowered vacant building.


Chris Davis:    And unfortunately sometimes they catch on fire. So it'd really be nice if we could have battery powered fire alarms, smoke detectors, and go and find these vacant buildings so that if they're set on fire by vandals or by maybe some homeless people that are living in them, our first responders, our fire and police departments can get there much faster put out the fire and then obviously, keep the collateral damage to adjacent buildings down. He said, I guess I get the fact that, we're running our meters and our street lights on the same network. Why can't we do this other thing, monitoring zombie buildings and that was pretty cool. And guess what, so have a new revenue source. I can charge the mortgage or lien holder a monitoring fee of X number of dollars a month? So let's say it's $25 a month times 12 months, that's fine. $300 and I've got a thousand buildings. So that's $300,000 of revenue. I could realize. So not only am I have a public safety element, but I also have a revenue potential element, but these types of applications. So we thought that was a really good, yeah.


Jim Frazer::    Wow, that's amazing. Those are two, two great and very unique applications that just show that we don't know where all this is going to go once we have all this data.


Chris Davis:    Yeah. So the whole idea is, if we can put in this intelligence, the networks, the infrastructure in the edge computing, cities will tell you what they need and there's technology out there, particularly with all the new IOT stuff, as you know in your space. The potential is unlimited. Just my humble opinion.


Jim Frazer:    Great. Chris, now we are at the top of the hour. I want to thank our guest today, Chris Davis, vice president of smart cities and strategic alliances for Cimcon Lighting for joining us today on, and to all of you who are listening into this, I remember this is a weekly podcast and we look forward to you on on future editions. Thank you very much, and we'll see you soon.

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