How Santiago’s Las Condes commune is improving quality of life through sensors
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Mayor of Las Condes, Daniela Peñaloza Ramos, explains how sensors and IoT are transforming the city into a safer, more sustainable, and more liveable space for citizens.
How does smart city technology fit into the work you are doing in Las Condes?
Las Condes is one of the biggest cities in Chile, so the smart city concept isn’t about gadgets and tools; for us, it is the way we want to develop our city and connect services with citizens. Our first steps began in 2018 working with Paradox Engineering, with a project that on the face of it seemed simple, but for a city like ours was a challenge – changing the whole structure of our public lighting.
The project covered more than 45,000 public lights and was undertaken with two goals in mind. The first was sustainability and the ability to save energy, but the second had broader impacts. We recognised that if we brought in a new connected LED lighting system, we would be able to essentially “sensorise” the city and collect information from our different streets and neighbourhoods. The project was a major first step because it allowed us to build that connected network across the city. We now have more than 1,900 sensors embedded in the city that collect and feedback information.
The rollout of the sensors obviously began with lights, giving us the ability to turn regulate the power of the lights based on the season of the year, and also on the needs of individual neighbourhoods. What’s more, the replacement LED technology enabled us to become the first city in Chile to connect with Cerro Dominador – the biggest solar plant in Latin America. All the energy used to power the lighting system is provided direct from the plant, meaning that it is all clean energy. It not only helps reduce our carbon footprint as a city, but has helped reduce energy costs on lighting by 25 per cent, which has been reinvested in other sustainability projects.