Everything You Need To Know About LTE-M And Its Application To Smart Street Lighting

Everything You Need To Know About LTE-M And Its Application To Smart Street Lighting

Smart street lighting has gained traction in the last few years as more cities move from traditional street lighting solutions to more technologically integrated solutions. Today, that migration is being powered by LTE-M technology, which has made it easy for smart street lights to integrate with cameras easily, light-sensing photocells, and other sensors to provide real-time monitoring functionalities.

What is LTE-M?

Long Term Evolution for Machines (LTE-M) is a wireless technology that brings the Internet of Things alive by interconnecting everything around us. It is also a low-power wide-area (LPWA) air interface that has found application in connecting the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices that use medium data rate requirements.

The use of LPWA allows LTE-M to support IoT through lower device complexity, while still being able to provide extended coverage and reuse of the LTE installed base. Its battery life can also last for up to 10 years, making it a low maintenance cost technology for deployed devices.

The technology also offers VoLTE (voice-over LTE) that allows human interaction. This has made it easy for the technology to be integrated with security, health, smart lighting, and other similar IoT applications.

LTE-M Gateways have also found usage in smart homes, where it acts as a communication unit that allows you to connect the measurement systems for household electricity meters, gas meters, and other types of utility meters in the house.

Using LTE-M in Smart Street Lighting

Smart street lighting has been popularized by the idea of smart cities that aim to improve efficiency through the use of interconnected information to understand and control its operation and optimize the use of limited resources. At the center of smart cities is the use of the internet of things (IoT) technologies, a network of connected devices that communicate and exchange data.

Smart cities also incorporate other technologies such as application programming interfaces (APIs), artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, and machine-to-machine communications. Therefore, any technology solution used as the base technology in smart cities and by extension smart street lighting has to be able to integrate with all the other technologies that form part and parcel of a smart city. This is where LTE-M comes in. It is able to work efficiently in an environment that integrates all these technologies. Some of its applications in building smart street lighting include:

  1. Application in automotive and transportation: LTE-M is able to support interconnectivity between network cells of moving vehicles. It does this by allowing users with medium data rates to be able to transfer information such as vehicle tracking, asset tracking, telematics, and fleet management. This information is transferred to data centers in real-time using LTE-M Gateway, allowing for dynamic street lighting based on the location from which the data is being broadcasted.
  2. Smart metering: One of the reasons why LTE-M Gateways have become popular in smart street lighting is their ability to monitor metering and utility applications through the regular transmission of data. This is made possible even in locations with network coverage issues. This is because LTE-M’s extended range is able to transmit data even in such areas.
  3. Meeting the needs of smart cities: LTE-M is able to meet the technological needs of smart cities such as smart street lighting, waste management scheduling, identification of free parking spaces, environmental monitoring, and constant monitoring of conditions of roads. This is all carried out within milliseconds.
  4. Low device cost: LTE-M Gateways cost lower compared to other technologies. It achieves this by providing the benefits of a cellular system at a fraction of the cost by relying on the already existing LTE networks for connectivity.
  5. Long battery life: One of the biggest challenges that IoT devices face is connecting devices that are in remote areas. However, with LTE-M, this problem is averted because the gateways have a long battery life of up to 10 years. Therefore, even in remote areas with no power, LTE-M technology can still be used to transmit data and provide smart street lighting solutions.
  6. Higher bandwidth: One of the biggest challenges that LTE-M competitors, such as ultra- narrowband (UNB), have faced is the low bandwidth that prevents them from handling large data. In a smart city that requires more sensors, other solutions start to fail or deliver quality data transmissions. However, LTE-M is able to handle multiple sensors with ease, and in the context of smart street lighting, the technology becomes the only plausible solution to meet the needs of a smart city.

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