When street lighting becomes smart for society and environment

Street lights illuminate the roads we drive on, the pedestrian paths we walk along and the public areas where we gather. This outdoor lighting provides us with safe roads, inviting public areas and enhanced security in our neighborhood, businesses, and city centers. As so many of our modern day achievements, we often don’t think about it, only noticing it when it’s not there.

The way outdoor lighting systems are managed has changed greatly in the past ten years. Traditionally lighting scouting teams were driving through the streets to spot failed lights. Paper maps and files were used to manage the maintenance of the lighting installation. The energy consumption of the lighting installation could often only be estimated. In a time, when cities and road authorities aim to reduce costs, to increase safety, and to protect the environment better – street lighting becomes a key target for further improvements.

Composite image of the Earht at night. Credit: NASA.

Composite image of the Earht at night. Credit: NASA.

Benefits of Smart Outdoor Lighting

The real challenge for municipalities, wanting to become smart cities, is the introduction of an intelligent network management to turn their street lighting into a smart outdoor lighting system – providing the following benefits:

  • Energy consumption and CO2 emissions worldwide can be drastically reduced
  • Networked outdoor lighting increases cost efficiency
  • Many new possibilities for lighting strictly suited to the demand
  • Professionalizing lighting operations management and increasing operation efficiency

All these benefits have a direct impact on society, the city energy spend and on the environment. Unfortunately the implementation of smart systems is still pretty slow because of missing standards to combine lighting systems and technology of different vendors.

This is why a global initiative was founded in 2012: the TALQ Consortium – a nonprofit organization – which is developing a globally accepted software interface to unify, control and monitor various outdoor lighting networks. Consisting of more than 30 member companies worldwide – the consortium is representing a majority of the global outdoor lighting industry and brings smart outdoor lighting forward.

Supporting smart cities for future-proof lighting tenders

By publishing a ‘Pocket Guide for Smart Outdoor Lighting Tenders’ the TALQ Consortium offers decision makers an excellent basis for compiling forward-looking, cost and energy saving tenders. The first edition of the Pocket Guide is available for free download here. The document provides not only a quick overview over the state-of-the-art technical specifications, but offers wording examples for an intelligent tendering document.

Uniting smart outdoor lighting

For installing a modern outdoor lighting network smart cities and operators don’t want to depend on single suppliers but foster competition for best pricing and to guarantee future-proof solutions. That’s why global standards for hardware and software interfaces are crucial for intelligent lighting.

Publishing the ‘Pocket Guide for Smart Outdoor Lighting Tenders’ is part of how the TALQ Consortium generates answers to the main challenges of outdoor lighting. If you want to know more how we aim to facilitate reduction of carbon footprints worldwide, increasing cost efficiency and accelerating the introduction of LED luminaires in road and urban lighting, do visit our website.


lokhoffGerard Lokhoff has been the Secretary General of the TALQ Consortium since its formation in 2012. He is Senior Standardization Officer with Philips, and has a wide experience in international standardization projects, such as the Marlin Open Digital Rights Management system and even going back to the development of the mp3 audio standard.

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