With more options to deliver higher levels of citizen service, efficiencies, and cost savings, savvy cities and municipalities are rethinking all aspects of their infrastructure – including streetlights and poles. Lumca brings decades of experience in designing and manufacturing lighting products that connect citizens to the cities they live in using the latest technology. With its pioneering Smart Pole solution, backed by Digi TransPort routers, the company is leading the way in new markets.
Consider the lowly and lonely streetlight. For more than 100 years, the pole-mounted luminaire has been an ever-present fixture – and cost – in virtually every city and town around the world. But as new lighting technologies, wireless connectivity, and sensors have been developed and refined, new opportunities have emerged to reimagine how municipalities deploy this mainstay of the urban and suburban landscape. Cities and towns are eager to roll out additional services to their citizens – and it turns out those streetlight poles may be the ideal backbone of the future.
With revenue that’s tripled in the last five years, Quebec City-based Lumca has taken the initiative in the rapidly growing market for new-breed smart lighting – a market that hits the sweet spot of the company’s strengths. For decades, Lumca has designed, engineered, and manufactured its own broad portfolio of outdoor lighting solutions.
However, according to Dennis Dion, co-president and head of sales and marketing, that was just the beginning. “Cities are moving to LED fixtures because they can save up to 50 percent of their lighting costs,” he said. “We saw a compelling opportunity to provide people with a host of new services that matter most to them. We’re talking about much more than smart lighting controls. We realized the pole could house anything from security cameras, panic buttons, and communications to battery-charging systems – even WiFi connectivity and variable-messaging billboards. What’s more, this was all achievable without adding any more infrastructure. That’s how we conceived the idea of the Smart Pole.”
Lumca’s Smart Pole is the industry’s first lighting solution with built-in power, connectivity, sensors, and other intelligent features – all configured and managed by a centralized GUI software platform. And one of the keys to the success of the Smart Pole is the Digi TransPort WR44 cellular router, a rugged, enterprise-class mobile-access router. The Digi TransPort WR44 is designed specifically for municipal applications that require reliable communications for systems such as security video, Wi-Fi, and other services across a constrained cellular LTE link. The Digi TransPort WR44R also provides a stateful firewall, IPSec VPN, network segmentation, and authentication. The Digi Remote Manager® enables efficient and effective network operations, providing critical functions such as mass updates, configuration profiling, and fleet monitoring with performance metrics reporting and alarms.
“We’re not ‘tech guys,’” said Dion. “We make outdoor lighting, and we didn’t want to waste time learning the intricacies of wireless connectivity. We needed the expertise of a partner we could count on. Digi provided a tech board that we used to build a prototype, and we were impressed with both its functionality and the form factor – which was a crucial consideration."
Depending on the application, Lumca Smart Poles can provide a range of services:
- LED lighting controls
- Surveillance cameras
- Environmental sensors
- Electronic billboards
- Charging stations
- WiFi coverage
According to Dion, customers have been enthusiastic. “The sales cycle in municipalities can be lengthier, but the Smart Pole is getting real traction now,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the preliminary results we’ve achieved with Digi. This connectivity is enabling an entirely new class of solutions for municipalities. As the transition to LED gains momentum, we expect to ride that wave and show cities and towns how to get more from their infrastructure and make the transition even better.”