Can Your Infrastructure Support Your Smart Cities Initiatives?
As we mentioned in a previous blog, smart cities are gaining momentum across a diverse swath of American real estate markets. The practice of installing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies throughout a community’s utilities and internal networks has proven far more than a passing fad. Statistics show that the global smart cities market is expected to continue its rampant expansion, at least for the foreseeable future. Expert predictions forecast that revenues generated from smart city development will more than double its 2018 industry revenues by as early as 2023.
How to Determine if You Should Become a Smart City
Energy Infrastructure Plays a Vital Role in Smart City Development
As with any relatively new, rapidly expanding vertical, business owners and developers are continuously tasked with navigating through new processes, protocols, and practices throughout the build. This is particularly relevant when creating the energy infrastructure within the smart city community. Rather than incur the exorbitant expense of manufacturing an entirely new smart pole for power delivery, business owners and municipalities often leverage existing energy infrastructure, placing programmable sensors on already-built structures to create wireless networks throughout the city.
In a typical smart conversion, utility pole contractors will install an LED lighting solution that includes a solar panel, battery pack, and light fixture. However, many smart city developers go beyond adding basic LED technology to include a wide range of other innovations that may be desirable for a specific community. Some lighting assets may consist of remote energy control based on available variables such as daylight and pedestrian movement. Even non-energy related sensors that track traffic and weather patterns may be placed on utility structures in an effort to aggregate big data intelligence and, ultimately, make our lives easier and more convenient.
Determining Structural Health Of Energy Infrastructure Is Vital When Building Smart Cities
Converting existing utility poles can prove an effective, cost-efficient solution for business owners seeking to launch innovation without overstretching budgets. However, many developers don’t understand that merely performing an asset inventory before installing needed sensors and technology to current lighting assets can cause a multitude of issues, misconfigurations, and malfunctions that jeopardize both the performance and overall safety of the utility poles. Put simply: many companies and developers add on to the current structures by considering total overall available assets, not whether the infrastructure network can actually support the weight of all added sensors and devices.
Beyond Asset Inventory: Full-Scale Asset Management Solutions Mitigate Risk with Smart City Conversions
Asset inventory alone is not enough to sustain the health of utility poles in smart cities. Failing to thoroughly assess if a conventional energy asset can successfully withstand additional weight after a smart conversion can have significant, potentially dire consequences. Many developers and builders assume that these steel structures can sustain a limitless load. However, every established pole has been specifically manufactured to withstand a certain amount of wind resistance based on the structure’s designs as well as the region in the country where it will be placed. Overburdening a utility pole can decrease its lifespan, resulting in outages, property damage, and physical injury, leaving the asset owner responsible for the exorbitant repair and vulnerable to potential litigation.
Your Chosen Provider Will Offer Customized Turnkey Solutions
Partnering with energy infrastructure companies that specialize in smart city builds and development can help mitigate the risk of a catastrophic miscalculation with existing assets during a deployment. The best time to bring in a provider is at the beginning of the project. Your chosen vendor will carefully assess the community specs to determine that every pole can withstand any device additions.
An experienced asset management team can even come into a project post-production to evaluate each individual lighting structure’s capacity to withstand the added load without structural compromise. Additionally, if at any point your asset management provider discovers a potential issue with the pole, they will develop a customized solution that alleviates the problem, often adding steel reinforcements to fortify the strength of the structure for optimized compliance and safety.