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Humanizing Our Smart Cities, One Light at a Time

When you think about smart street lights, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it energy savings? Smart grid integration? Reduced carbon emissions? For Dutch entrepreneur, Chintan Shah, it starts with people. As the CEO of a young and fast-growing high-tech company that has grown from 1 to 22 employees over the past few years, Chintan’s vision for smart street lighting goes beyond the next installation. You see, his company, Tvilight, provides something most other smart street light solutions don’t–human-centered design and interactivity.

“First of all, Tvilight takes an individual's privacy seriously, using no cameras to detect objects or motion. Instead, the team focuses on cleverly combining sensors and software to determine what kind of object is entering the lighting area.”

Gina Clifford

Building a reliable, secure, scalable, economic and accessible smart city starts with a focus on people. Putting people in a circle of light as they stroll down the street at night might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a smart city, but it’s the thing that matters most. Just like we enjoy a gentle breeze through our hair or the scent of fresh bread as we stroll past the bakery, we’ll appreciate lights that anticipate our next step, illuminating a path just for us. And just like we don’t leave our house lights on when we go out for the evening, we’ll expect the same from our street lights. We can’t imagine a world without mobile phones or Google. Perhaps soon we’ll feel the same way about smart street lights.

By Gina Clifford

First published on April 3, 2014