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Smart Cities and education

15th June 2017

| #smart citizens#smart city#smart city and education#smart eductaion#smart lighting#smart lighting for education#technology#uk smart city

The landscape of Smart Cities is growing at a rapid and revolutionary rate. Towns across the world are introducing IoT technologies to enhance the way citizens communicate and how businesses interact. Academic bodies, rightly, are increasingly becoming a part of this landscape, with a number of smart solutions being introduced to aid learning and improve student safety.

Institutions of respect and great responsibility, schools, colleges and universities have an obligation to ensure students learn and develop in a safe and secure environment. Building schools within a Smart City infrastructure not only provides further opportunity to learn, but enhances the safety of learners through the intelligent technologies integrated within.

Where does the humble lamppost fit into smart education?

Not only installed upon pavements and roadsides throughout the country, lampposts are also commonplace in university campuses and college grounds – not forgetting the many pelican crossings that feature at the entrance of most educational institutes.  Ultimately, these existing infrastructures are in place to light the way but, with communities growing ever smarter, they can offer so much more.

Making current urban furniture more sentient means educational bodies have increased control and can gain further understanding of what is needed to enrich the quality of life for their pupils. Safety is inevitably on top of the agenda and, with unimposing lamppost architecture already in place, all that is required is for a new approach in the way such structures are utilised.

School crossings – student safety

Physical access to and from academic facilities can be aided by technologies within connected urban communities. Controlling traffic and increasing road safety is something that streetlights, in their very nature, are more than capable of and with the help of CMS (central management system) technology, a pragmatic approach can be taken to manage issues that may threaten the safety of citizens.

Lighting in key areas can be pre-programmed to work at crucial intervals, such as opening and closing times, as well as term time periods. A recent project in the UK has utilised such a system to enforce a 20mph speed limit throughout residential and school zones within an entire city.

With a centrally controlled and monitored system, all lights work in a sequence that relates to the opening times and dates of schools within the borough, ensuring optimum safety at necessary points of the day. This means that traffic flow is impacted only in school hours, reducing the instance of congestion in busy commuting periods, as well as increasing efficiency and minimising any additional running costs.

Once installed with a connected system, streetlighting networks can better adapt to the changing environment within towns and cities. This isn't only limited to illumination but can encompass forward compatibility with other applications that may further enhance citizen safety, such as mobile alerts that warn of road traffic accidents or sensors that monitor increased sound levels and alert nearby police. There are many ways that can simple street lighting intrastructure can further improve the quality of life for citizens, schools are just one area of many. 

Find out more about how lighting controls can improve student safety in this real life case study by Lucy Zodion

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