Smart cities could be defined as those that completely and efficiently satisfy the needs of its citizens, set by local, national and international sustainability standards. They are often characterized by use of digital technologies that enable better performance management and result with reduced costs and reduced resources consumption.
In terms of public lighting, smart cities concept is not limited only to energy efficiency achieved through the replacement of traditional lighting with new LED lighting. It also recognizes public lighting system as resource and upgrade for other developing city systems. At large, they all contribute to the intelligent city monitoring and management, safety and quality of living.
According to the IHS Technology definition, smart cities are those that have “deployed or are currently piloting, the integration of information, communications and technology solutions across three or more different functional areas of a city. These functional areas include mobile and transport, energy and sustainability, physical infrastructure, governance and safety and security.” Based on this definition, IHS Technology report predicts that there will be at least 88 smart cities all over the world by 2025, up from 21 in 2013. While the combined Europe-Middle East-Africa region represents currently the largest number of smart cities, according to forecasts, by 2025 the Asia-Pacific region will be accountable for majority of smart cities.
Smart cities development is motivated by major challenges, including increasing pressure on public finances. In practice, the concept includes different models of financing and implementation. One of those, often used in public lighting projects is ESCO (Energy service companies) as model of guaranteed savings. This principle is also used by G-SolarLed projects enabling full support to local communities in achievement of immediate savings and transfer of available funds into other areas.