Connect lighting infrastructure with smart parking (& address city challenges)

smart parking

Today’s street parking infrastructure is still rudimentary and often does not leverage data from connected technology. One of the biggest challenges for city drivers is accessing up-to-date information on the availability of parking spots. Additionally, city officials need insights on parking use in order to better manage occupancy.

In order to explore new applications for connected technology, the city of Helsinki recently piloted a smart parking initiative to build on its connected lighting infrastructure. Funded by the EIT-Digital open-innovation program in collaboration with the consortium involving Philips Lighting, Forum Virium Helsinki and Parquery, the system offers a real time overview of unoccupied public parking spaces. It works by combining traffic monitoring solutions with the existing outdoor lighting network, producing highly granular parking information across the city that can be used to inform and improve parking services to benefit both city officials and city users.

Monitored data is sent to a central server and pushed to platforms that can be used by 3rd party applications and services. Applications using this data help drivers find parking spaces more efficiently while also helping city planners optimize parking space utilization.

A smart-parking pilot that uses IP-cameras and cloud-based image analytics is currently helping Helsinki discover the suitability of advanced lighting and video technology to address smart city challenges. Within the EIT-Digital open-innovation program, Philips Lighting Research collaborated with the Public Works Department of the City of Helsinki to co-create a smart parking service. This smart city innovation pilot allows the city to gain valuable insights into the feasibility of deploying these technologies on a larger scale.

During February and March 2017, a small-scale smart parking pilot was deployed as part of Helsinki’s open street-lab initiative, City as a development platform. Prior to the pilot, the smart parking concept had also been trialed at the High Tech Campus Living Lab in Eindhoven, during June to December 2016.

This smart city initiative has provided Helsinki with first-hand information about the suitability of video technology for this task and helped the city gain valuable insights into how this type of monitoring can be deployed. The concept has helped Helsinki move towards its goal of becoming a ‘City as development platform’ by providing insight into business models and innovative ways of utilizing its existing lighting network assets as a backbone for IoT applications.

Helsinki’s innovation procurement program is now considering public lighting as a potential IoT backbone, enabling future smart city applications. The city is targeting further innovative third-party solutions and services for transport, based on comprehensive real-time understanding of traffic volumes, travel times and related conditions such as parking