Silent night, smart night

Dec 16, 2016

The German city of Monheim am Rhein relies on intelligent street and Christmas lighting. The upgraded streetlamps significantly reduce power consumption.
T-Systems sets up streetlight network in Monheim am Rhein
The lamps on the sides of the streets are atmospherically dimmed, next to them the comet's trail of Christmas lighting twinkles brightly. Alte Schulstrasse, in the heart of Monheim am Rhein, presents the city at its holiday best during the Yuletide season. One street corner further away: aromatic steam rises from cups being served at the small booths and alpine chalet next to an ice rink. Strings of more than 10,000 lights shine brightly at the city hall.

"Expanding digitization increases the quality of life"

Outside, pre-Christmas cheer; inside, state-of-the-art technology: Monheim am Rhein – in any case a pioneering city with regard to digitization – has promptly switched over to intelligent street lighting and thus takes a further major step on its way towards becoming a completely connected city. Here, the smart city is no longer just a distant vision. Daniel Zimmermann, who in 2009 became the youngest mayor of a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia at the age of 27, is convinced: "By expanding digitization, we increase the quality of life for all of our residents and, at the same time, make the city a more attractive location to companies."
Within the scope of a pilot project, the streetlamps were technically upgraded and connected. With the light management system provided by T-Systems, it is now possible to remotely dim the streetlamps – in the middle of the night, for instance, when less light is needed, or when they are to contribute to the festive holiday lighting. The energy-savings potential of the new LED technology in the lamp heads is enormous: the electrical power consumption per streetlamp was cut from 70 to 22 watts per hour – a savings of nearly 70 percent, which can be even further improved through intelligent dimming. A plus for the environment: if all streetlamps in Germany were to be converted to LED technology, some 1.6 million tons of CO2 emissions could be prevented each year, according to an estimate by ZVEI (German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association).

Streetlamps report their own problems

The intelligent lighting also eases maintenance by MEGA, Monheim's own municipal electric and gas utility. Because the streetlamps are connected, in the future they will not only be able to independently inform about their power consumption and temperature, but also about any technical problems that might occur. Consequently, the city of Monheim am Rhein saves on inspection checks by a service team. Deutsche Telekom, with its expertise regarding smart city applications, supports the city in turning visionary digital concepts into reality.
Under the motto "Monheim 4.0", Monheim am Rhein has already accomplished digital projects that should pave the way towards the smart city. Examples of the systems and devices it has introduced as part of this effort include a web page on which residents can report problems throughout the city (malfunctioning or missing systems, etc.), a pool of tablet computers for schools, a special online platform for discussion of, and voting on, budget proposals, and numerous WiFi hotspots throughout the city. Monheim am Rhein will soon provide every home with high-speed Internet. "We are going to be the first municipality in our state to have a comprehensive broadband network in place by the end of 2018," notes Daniel Zimmermann, Monheim's mayor.
In 2017 Monheim am Rhein will extend the intelligent street lighting throughout the entire old town section and in other areas. Perhaps in all of Monheim, the holiday season's greeting will soon be: Silent night, smart night.