Live Labs Blog

The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs Programme is a two-year, £22.9m project funded by the Department for Transport that will run until Spring 2021. This page will give regular updates on the project.

Latest post

Live Labs Blog: bringing innovation to Victorian streetlighting

24 July 2020

In our latest blog, David Aarons from enLight talks about how innovative technology has been brought to Victorian streetlighting in Fairford Leys as part of Buckinghamshire Council’s SMART connected communities Live Lab project…

Every project has its challenges, but working together and taking a collaborative approach ensures the eventual solution works for everyone. Buckinghamshire Council’s Live Lab scheme is a perfect example of this, particularly as it came with the additional challenge of Covid-19 – as well as affecting the supply chain and lead times, as a small company enLight has, of course, had to reorganise its workspace in order to implement the correct social-distancing measures.

enLight has been at the forefront of software development, communication and microelectronics for more than 30 years. Our smart cities systems give those with responsibility for neighbourhoods and towns the information to make key decisions in response to environmental conditions.

The enLight system is energy-efficient and low-maintenance, as well as cost-effective and scalable. It is also designed for interoperability, allowing existing components from other manufacturers to work together without the need to purchase completely new equipment.

Our technology turns streetlighting into an environmental monitoring network sensing air quality, traffic flow, floodwater, parking spaces… whatever is required. At its heart is something we created called the enTalk DolFin®Pro, which turns streetlamps into nodes in a mesh network.

There wasn’t space for a DolFin®Pro in the Live Lab project, so we took the tech from the DolFin®Pro and created the enTalk NemaNode, which houses the sensors. This can be retrofitted and configured so that existing products from different manufacturers can work in harmony.

Its space-saving design contains a universal power supply (with surge protection). It also includes a universal lighting interface, which supports two channels of 7-pin NEMA controls that can be remotely configured for PWM-DALI (DALI2), 1-10V, a sub-Gigahertz enTalk radio network, and a selection of sensors including light level (lux), colour temperature, normal temperature, six axes of movement detection and orientation, and GPS location. Plus, there’s a Bluetooth low-energy interface module.

Our brief for the Bucks’ Live Lab project was to create a technology that not only provided effective and efficient environmental monitoring, but also retained the aesthetics of the Victorian-style lampposts in the conservation area of Fairford Leys parish.

We sat down with Buckinghamshire Council and realised that deploying technology into historical lighting was a real challenge – adding our NemaNode to the top would have ruined the shape and silhouette of these lights. So, we went away and thought about how we could combine the technology of the DolFin®Pro, the space-saving capabilities of the NemaNode, and the Victorian-inspired design considerations of the neighbourhood.

The Victorian-style lamp posts in Fairford Leys are topped with ornamental finials, and these became our inspiration. We created the enTalk DolFinial®, which brings environmental monitoring sensors to heritage streetlighting – and you wouldn’t even know it was there. We simply changed the finial so it accommodated the technology, solving the issue and at the same time designing a new product line especially for architectural and heritage lighting.

By listening to what was required, we came up with a sympathetic design that solved both the tech and the aesthetic issues. We’ve always been innovators at enLight, and we’re really proud to have come up with a solution that works for the council and the future. 

More posts

  • 3 June 2020

    Live Labs Blog: Buckingham lights up

    As with all local authority programmes across the country, Buckinghamshire’s Live Lab, a SMART connected community project in Aylesbury Garden Town, has been impacted by COVID-19. While work has continued at a slower pace with some partners furloughing staff and the team working from home, some aspects of the project that began before lockdown, are able to carry on.

    In our latest blog, John Hartley from Exel Composities UK, brings a partner perspective…

    Read more >

  • 16 April 2020

    Live Labs blog: Birmingham test-bed for innovative video analytics

    The Network Resilience Live Lab is progressing well in its aims to use innovative video analytics to help combat road congestion in Birmingham and Solihull. 

    In this blog, we take a look back at the very first trials conducted in February 2019 and how these tests were vital in gathering valuable insight that continues to inform our project activities and deliver best practice.

    Identifying the ideal test route 

    Read more >

  • 9 March 2020

    Suffolk Live Labs: all about that data

    Suffolk County Council’s £4.41m Live Lab is exploring how we can use smart technology across our urban, rural and coastal environments to revolutionise the services we deliver.

    Data is the core of our project and we will be analysing information collected from sensors that monitor road surface temperature, vehicle numbers and classifications, gully levels and air quality to make working efficiencies and reduce costs. We will be testing a multitude of sensors across our differing environments and ultimately working to develop new national standards and guidance.

    Read more >

  • 20 December 2019

    Live Labs blog: project update - Staffordshire doing things differently

    Here in the Staffs Live Lab we are trying to do things a little differently! Over the last two months, we’ve been running the first phase of our Challenge Creation, based around our two focus areas - air quality and intelligent rural mobility. We're aiming to identify the critical issues faced by the county and then develop the tangible challenges that we can release to the SME market.  

    Read more >

  • 3 December 2019

    Live Labs blog: speed dating – the Live Labs way

    Two weeks ago, ADEPT held its annual Autumn Conference in the beautiful city of Bath. Speaking to a packed house of local authorities and corporate partners, Darryl Eyers, the ADEPT President, set the scene for the overall theme ‘Well-connected places in a changing world’.

    The two-day conference covered everything from environmental issues to Brexit, but showcasing innovation and new approaches underpinned it all. For our eight Live Labs, this meant the second day was their time to shine!

    Read more >

  • 20 November 2019

    Live Labs blog: Hit your targets!

    Monitoring and evaluation might not seem the most exciting aspect of a project, but it is critical.

    For Live Labs, with its focus on scalability, shared learning and value for money, it is essential, both for the performance of each project and the programme as a whole. When done properly, the process provides vital feedback on progress, pinpoints areas that need support, as well as helping to identify and realise all the potential benefits.

    Read more >