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August-October 2018

Even the smallest of Dutch towns are becoming smart

The 10km bike route between Woensdrecht and Bergen op Zoom, in the southwest of the Netherlands, used to be a scary one – especially in the dark winter months. The Antwerpsestraat – the long road between the two towns – had no street lights, and some children dreaded cycling home in the dark after a long school day. To increase safety, the city government purchased 65 street lights last year. But the city didn’t just buy regular lights, it opted for connected LED lights that use movement sensors. The lights are switched off by default, and they automatically come on when a car or bike is nearing. When vehicle have passed, the lights dim again. The smart lights are quite an investment, but a durable and sustainable one. The lamps don’t require a lot of energy and the luminaires on top of the lamp posts can also house connected cameras and microphones in the future. “If something happens, you immediately have proof,” said one city official. Woensdrecht has 22,000 inhabitants, and is one of the many Dutch cities investing in smart ...

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