The German town of Monheim am Rhein, whose population measures about 40,000, will act as a guinea pig for a project aiming to reduce energy consumption by up to 70 percent. The tiny town sitting along to eastern bank of the Rhine is partnering with a national telecommunications company to develop a smart lighting service that will improve the quality of life for citizens and make the location an even more attractive one for businesses headquartered in Germany.
Small city, big change
Walking along the streets in Monheim am Rhein, you would never guess that the street lanterns have been switched out and refitted with the latest LED technology. Not only do they look identical to the town’s historical lamps, they use just 22 watts per hour instead of 70, totalling an energy savings of 70 percent. With the new service, Deutsche Telekom will manage lights at night so they can be switched on and off manually, as well as automatically dimmed when there is no traffic. Plus, the network can maintain and monitor lightbulbs, so any failures will be automatically reported and fixed in real time.
Smart steps to digitalisation
As part of the “Monheim 4.0” philosophy, the smart lighting system is just a sole component of a larger game plan to make the city one of the country’s most modern. In addition to the new lighting system, Monheim has set up a digital strategy that allows residents to report issues such as potholes or vandalism through an online reporting tool. WLAN hotspots offering free, high-speed Wi-Fi have also been set up around urban areas. With the help of this system, citizens are instantly connected to the city’s smart applications and online forums, where they can vote on citywide proposals. Even public schools are seeing the effects of this trend, with each student receiving a tablet PC to use during lessons.
“With the help of our capable partners, we are quickly turning into a smart city that can serve as a role model for others,” explains Mayor Daniel Zimmermann. “The 21st century requires not only excellent infrastructure and direct access to transportation but also modern data highways. Providing fast Internet for our citizenry and industry is as important as electrification was in the early 20th century.”