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Consortium to release standard interface for smart city lighting

US consortium Talq, which is developing a global interface standard and certification scheme for managing outdoor smart lighting networks, will introduce an application interface that will enable cities to choose and adopt smart lighting solutions from multiple vendors and control them all through a single central management system (CMS).

Smart lighting solutions help cities and municipalities dramatically reduce their energy consumption and maintenance costs by granting them complete control over their streetlighting output and providing continuous operational information. Smart street lighting networks have also been identified as potential platforms for sensory systems that could augment air pollution monitoring, traffic counting, security and waste management services, and much more. The LED luminaires could also one day be used to broadcast ultrafast li-fi internet to passing citizens, for instance.

However,  most of the available smart lighting solutions are proprietary, according to the Talq Consortium, locking cities into single vendor solutions. Talq version 2.0, to be published in summer 2018, is therefore designed to exchange data, commands and programs between one or more CMS and outdoor device networks (ODNs) from different vendors to enable the configuration, control, command and monitoring of connected devices in a city. This guarantees cities broad interoperability of various smart city applications from different vendors, while still granting the vendors full flexibility in defining their own devices and functionality as needed.

‘Our clear goal is to make it easy for cities to connect any smart city device to their CMS, so that any data produced is stored and displayed and can be used in any other smart city processes and applications,’ explained Simon Dunkley, secretary general of the Talq consortium.

Through a set of agreed attributes and events, Talq defines the message types, data format, parameters and behaviour of CMSs and gateways (links between computer programs or systems) . In doing so, Talq does not limit the types of network implementations in the ODN itself, but specifies the interface between the ODN’s interface (gateway) and the CMS. Version 2.0 is based on a bidirectional Restful API with JSON-LD data payload that relies on underlying standardised data transport, network and security services such as HTTP, TLS, TCP and IP, to establish communication between CMSs and gateways.

The standard 'Restful' approach adopted by Talq makes integration easy for manufacturers of smart city applications in existing CMSs and gateways. To provide configuration, control, command and monitoring services, Talq version 2.0 supports HTTP REST GET, PUT, POST, PATCH and DELETE requests on REST resources such as devices and services. Getting log values (e.g. temperature, voltage, current, energy) from devices, reading real time values from a device, sending configuration parameters to a device or remote controlling it, also becomes obvious for CMS software developers when implementing the new version.

Using Talq, vendors are free to describe their end-devices through Talq functions, which can easily be configured, controlled and monitored using Talq services (configuration, data collect, real time control, on-demand read, scheduled control, etc.). In that way, Talq fosters competition and allows cities to choose among multiple different solutions whilst assuring compatibility of all systems.

The Talq consortium is also publishing a third, updated version of its Pocket Guide for Smart Outdoor Lighting Tenders. The document, available in German, English and Romanian, provides a comprehensive overview of the technical requirements for smart outdoor lighting, and offers wording examples for a complete and smart tendering document. As with the previous editions, the Pocket Guide for Smart Outdoor Lighting Tenders can be requested from the TALQ Consortium and is free of charge.

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