Smart street lighting for Swaziland

By ECD (Electrical+Comms+Data) Staff
Tuesday, 24 January, 2017 | Supplied by: gridComm


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The Kingdom of Swaziland has a new smart street lighting solution and sensor network, courtesy of a partnership between gridComm and investment firm Somerset Group.

A developing country with a small economy, Swaziland is flanked by the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Mozambique. A majority of Swaziland is undeveloped and its economy is highly focused on agriculture, forestry and mining. With these industries only accounting for approximately 13% of the gross domestic product, there is an urgent need to bolster productivity and increase the standard of living.

gridComm’s smart street lighting sensory network technology delivers intelligent, eco-friendly lighting to Swaziland, saving energy and money while also limiting carbon emissions. Concurrently, based on the existing street lighting infrastructure, the technology establishes a ready-to-use Internet of Things (IoT) sensory network which can be used to monitor crops, weather and more via data analytics. This will assist Swaziland’s farming communities by helping to optimise productivity and increase agricultural output.

The sensory network system is built with hybrid communication technologies comprising a next-generation multichannel OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access) power line communication (PLC) transceiver (gridComm’s GC2200) and a wireless physical layer. gridComm uses its PLC and digital power supply technologies to convert traditional street lighting into energy-aware and remotely managed and monitored web-based networks.

“By deploying gridComm’s solution, the practice of sending engineering experts physically out into the field to fix connectivity issues becomes a thing of the past, as they can now be remotely monitored,” said Mike Holt, CEO of gridComm. 

As the preferred technology for street light control, PLC is more reliable than wireless technologies — particularly low-power radiofrequency technologies — which are more prone to interference in outdoor environments. Because many IoT sensors run on batteries, hybrid power line and wireless communication technology ensures connectivity between these sensors when they are in the vicinity of smart street lights. With gridComm’s solution, IoT sensors can be introduced to the network as they are needed. gridComm modules are designed to automatically attach to the nearest gateway without on-site tuning or configuration for true plug-and-play connectivity.

“For a developing country like Swaziland, adopting the right technology solutions is crucial to shaping a sustainable environment,” said Henri Thompson, group managing director of Somerset Group, South Africa.

“We envision that gridComm’s smart technology will deliver the data analytics needed to boost crop yields and positively affect Swaziland’s economic development. We intend to bring gridComm technology and all of its benefits to other countries on the African continent as well,” Thompson said.

Image credit: ©å­¤é£žçš„鹤/Dollar Photo Club

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