For car park operators, opportunities to cut costs are always a welcome thing, especially if in doing so, you can improve energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Lighting is one of the key areas that offers such opportunities.

Good car park lighting is essential for assuring your users’ sense of security, reducing accidents, and, increasingly, for wayfinding to available spaces and traffic flow directing. However, lighting systems can be expensive in terms of installation, maintenance, and energy costs.

Intelligent Grid is a highly flexible platform that deploys smart lighting to improve your customers’ experience. It also cuts energy costs both by improving operating efficiency, and using IoT movement sensors to eliminate unnecessary illumination. And, as an Industry 4.0-enabled infrastructure comprising lighting, cameras, and other Cloud-connected devices, it supports other intelligent car park applications that you may require.

Intelligent Grid hardware

Intelligent Grid hardware works using busbars that deliver three-phase Safety Extra Low Voltage (SELV) AC power to the point of load, where it is rectified into DC. Transporting power in this way reduces losses and carbon footprint, with energy savings of up to 40 per cent compared with conventional LED installations, or 70 per cent compared with fluorescent lights.

The lighting is flicker-free for an improved visual environment. Additionally, luminaires can be dimmed to zero for maximum control.

The busbars are available in lengths up to 5 m. Together with hubs and connectors, they make up a highly flexible, future-proof solution that can be rapidly assembled and scaled – or dismantled and re-used – as circumstances demand. No trunking or cable trays are required, and the extra-low voltage allows assembly by non-specialist staff.

Once the system is installed, you can quickly and easily mount take off boxes on the busbars, to provide AC-DC rectification and mechanical and electrical connections for the required lights, cameras and other smart parking sensors or actuators. Intelligent Grid is device-agnostic and compatible with a large ecosystem of third-party devices and luminaires. These can include communications for fire, PA and CCTV security, plus temperature, humidity, CO2 and other sensors.

Wireless networking and an IoT environment

Following installation, you can integrate all devices into a thread wireless mesh network which communicates with a local edge server; the server’s proximity gives real-time responses to sensor data, with reduced risk of interruption to the communications channel. Control configurations, such as where movement sensors activate lights, become viable.

For another example, you could use Automatic Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to identify cars and guide them to available spaces. While improving customer experience, it also reduces vehicle-generated pollution by eliminating wasteful circulation. Nevertheless, air quality sensors can detect fumes created by this or other causes, and alert on-site operators accordingly.

Strategic planning

While the edge server provides fast local control, it can also exchange data with Cloud-based IGS software running monitoring and control applications, and performing data analysis to inform longer-term, more strategic decisions. For example, you can integrate your parking booking system with Intelligent Grid to enable premium parking privileges such as advanced booking and priority parking for corporate clients, loyalty cardholders, or users of tenants’ facilities. The system could also use ANPR data to identify more frequent users, and offer them incentives to stay for longer or visit more often.

Overall, Intelligent Grid offers you opportunities to reduce costs and carbon footprint, while improving your customers’ experience. You can always scale it by adding busbars, sensors, and applications to remain competitive as technology and requirements evolve.

To learn more about Intelligent Grid and how it could benefit your site as an automated parking system, please visit our Smart Car Parks page.

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