Smart lighting

2018 - 2019

Squares in the city are places for meeting and recreation, also in the evening. This is why public squares are always illuminated. However, if the lamps are always on at full strength, they result in unnecessary light pollution and unnecessary energy consumption.

The Antwerp Smart Zone aims to provide the Sint-Andriesplaats with the best possible lighting for users. The “Smart lighting” project is testing a new system on the square. 

  • Movement and sound sensors illuminate the basketball court only when it is actually being used.
  • When rain sensors identify reduced visibility, lamps at the edge of the square increase the light. 
  • Smart cameras that identify a resident who wants to cross the square at night provide extra light. 

How does it work technically?

  • All the sensors in the square receive signals. They send them wirelessly to a gateway
  • The gateway sends its information to a central computer via the internet.
  • The computer analyses the situation on the square based on the data gathered from all the different sensors.
  • This analysis activates the rules that control the lights on the square. 
  • These rules are sent to the cloud via the internet.
  • A cloud platform then controls the lights.

Thanks to built-in sensors, the street lighting poles also serve as a weather station. Is there a red light ring displayed? Then it's probably best to pack a raincoat or umbrella because the forecast is predicting rain or snow within the hour.

For this project, we are collaborating with Nokia Bell Labs, Fluvius and Schréder.

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User survey

The first phase was to carry out a neighbourhood study asking the question, “How can technology support the neighbourhood?” This resulted in a number of themes emerging in Sint-Andries, such as safety, retail, materials and waste management, as well as mobility (traffic lights, parking, loading and unloading). 

Street lighting has a major impact on the sense of security felt by local residents. In other countries, there are examples of smart lighting that reacts to the circumstances. The “Smart lighting” project is testing a number of those applications that may be useful at the Sint-Andriesplaats.

Sint-Andriesplaats in Antwerp

Look for solutions

Sensors and light posts were chosen on the basis of market research, and the results were subsequently tested for efficiency in a laboratory. This was necessary to decide the precise location in which the sensors needed to be installed. 

Sint-Andriesplaats in Antwerp


The sensors and smart lights were installed at the Sint-Andriesplaats. 

  • The square was equipped with a weather station, sensors that identified movement and sound, and cameras. 
  • All the collected data is wirelessly transmitted to a central computer.

Wheater station, sensors, wireless communication

Sint-Andriesplaats in Antwerp

Test phase

The sensors must be able to establish links between the signals they receive, for example between movement, sound and light intensity. The period during which they learn to work together is a period of trial and error: sometimes the lights seem to be too weak, sometimes too bright, sometimes they don't turn on at all, sometimes they flicker, etc. - it's all part of the learning process.


Sint-Andriesplaats in Antwerp

Citizen survey

The opinion of citizens is essential when evaluating the quality of the street lighting and the different applications. 
During the period of August-November 2018, citizens can give their feedback via

  • a questionnaire
  • neighbourhood meetings
  • the large digital screen on the Sint-Andriesplaats

Sint-Andriesplaats in Antwerp

Evaluation and reporting

During this phase, we will evaluate the extent to which the objectives have been achieved. An important focus here is the direct experience of users (citizens and interested (city) services).

Sint-Andriesplaats in Antwerp

Privacy within this project

The “Smart lighting” project uses camera images to control the square lighting. The images go to servers at Digipolis, the digital service of the city, via a secure channel. There, a computer program examines how many people are in the square and whether they are carrying out a certain activity such as exercising, running, walking or sitting.

The Antwerp Smart Zone is only interested in numbers, not in the identity of the people on the street. Anybody detected several times in the same frame is counted as a new individual each time. The system does not recognise people. When an employee checks the system, he/she only sees blurred faces.

Would you like to take part? Gladly!

Nobody knows our city better than those who live or work there. This is why the Antwerp Smart Zone wants to get ideas and insights from as many residents as possible, to work together to help make Antwerp even smarter.

Take part

Would you like to build it with us? Sure!

To build our smart city, the Antwerp Smart Zone prefers to work with entrepreneurs and scientists. Do you recognise these qualities in yourself? Then make sure to get in touch to experiment with us.

Build it with us