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Nab a Better Parking Spot at the Mall With “Smart” Lighting


Sensor-equipped LED light fixtures will change the way we park, shop and operate.

Add a sensor and a wireless connection to any little thing and suddenly it’s smart. Just look around: the thermostat in the hall, the energy meter on the external wall, and every gadget in your car. Smart, smart and smarter. So it was only a matter of time before light fixtures became the next big thing in intelligent networks. I’m not talking about the lights that sense when you are in the room or automatically adjust to environmental triggers. Rather, I’m talking about lights that direct you to a parking spot, that keep the streets safe and that increase operational efficiencies across a property.

Allow me to introduce you to the NetSense Light Sensory Network (LSN) from Sensity Systems, a high-speed sensor-based networking platform that leverages the widespread move toward light-emitting diode (LED) technology for outdoor lighting, which, according to Sensity executives, is essentially putting a solid-state digital device (the same technology powering every computing and communications device) into every light fixture.

Now, imagine the possibilities…

According to the Sensity website, shopping malls are installing the NetSense network for these reasons:

Real-time parking availability information. A hassle-free parking experience improves the overall shopper experience at a brick-and-mortar store. NetSense helps shoppers by providing real-time parking availability information throughout the parking lots and garages of a retail property.

Increased public safety and security. With video-based security and real-time video analytics, NetSense offers a cost-effective solution to increase the safety of shopping patrons, as well as proactive information with which to respond to incidents. For example, video analytics can be used to detect loitering, alert others when someone enters forbidden areas, and identify other public safety events.

Operational efficiencies, lighting control and traffic monitoring. NetSense enables real-time control, management and maintenance support for all lighting fixtures across a property. Features include activity-based dimming, daylight harvesting, fault detection and verification of energy savings. In addition, applications under development include snow-level detection, parking resurfacing monitoring and vehicle traffic analytics.

Because LEDs are solid-state digital devices, all that’s needed is a wireless connection for the lights to illuminate the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of the new “smart mall,” opening the door to new software services that deliver actionable insights into outdoor infrastructure and even our shopping behavior.

Hey, if I don’t have to drive around in circles looking for a parking spot and wasting precious retail time, well, count me in.

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