Pioneer counties join forces to trial smart city technology


Two county councils have announced that they are working together to pilot smart city services in partnership with a Cambridge-based technology firm.

Essex and Hertfordshire county councils will work with Telensa to assess the potential quality of life and economic benefits of a range of technologies.

Both councils are early adopters of Telensa’s wireless streetlight controls, which aim to save money by reducing energy consumption and enabling a more efficient maintenance operation. They also aim to cut costs by harnessing the county-wide lighting networks to introduce new smart city monitoring services.

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council cabinet member for highways, said: ‘I am extremely excited about the benefits this trial offers by using technology to deliver more for less for our residents.

‘We currently rely on inspections and residents reporting issues, like blocked gullies, to us across more than 5,000 miles of roads in Essex. The potential to monitor issues remotely will not only save taxpayers money, it will also improve our reaction times and allow us to fix issues before they become a problem.’

Cllr Grundy added that smart streetlights being rolled out across Essex by Ringway Jacobs crews will complement the smart city partnership work.

Will Gibson, founder and chief commercial officer at Telensa, said: ‘Hertfordshire and Essex are pioneers of smart street lighting, and between them already use Telensa technology to control 250,000 streetlights. This project will show the community and financial benefits unlocked by adding new sensor applications to the Telensa streetlight network.’

The smart city solutions in the project include:

  • Gully monitoring – monitors can alert and even predict problems such as blocked street drains before they cause a flood

  • Highway wind monitoring – alerts the highways team of high winds or gusts and builds a data set that helps to predict dangerous local driving conditions

  • Traffic monitoring and analytics – from dimming unnecessary streetlighting on empty roads to understanding local traffic patterns

  • Waste bin monitoring – enables cleaner streets through more responsive collections and helps make sure there is enough capacity where it is needed

  • Air quality monitoring – provides street-by-street measurements of air quality to complement the broad picture provided by existing monitoring stations.

The councils are currently assessing the suitability of three sites in Hertfordshire and Essex towns. The pilot is due to commence in March and will run initially for two months.


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