Locative Lab

researching locative media

Personal Telemetry: Streetlighting by Cellphone

Wow – this is the kinda whacky project that my old colleagues at France Telecom R&D used to be ridiculed for – using a cellphone as your ‘remote control for life’.

The town of Germany’s Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz has recently reduced its streetlighting energy costs by a quarter, simply by switching all lighting off by default and allowing citizens of the town to light individual units with a phone call.

The innovative civic infrastructure requires users to register their cellphone, then simply enter a shortcode identifying the area this wish to light up…these identifiers are ironically posted on nearby street lights!

Well, my old FT buddies were waaay ahead of their time and this project ‘lights the way’ for countless other great applications of cellphone telemetry. Interestingly, in the labs we focussed on providing telemetry for a person’s home, rather than their civic environment. I guess, as a society, we’re more sensitised to the inclusion of the ‘crowd‘ and social applications with shared trust than we were in 2002.

The project sets a great precedent for the cellphone as a passive trigger for various civic services that personalise themselves to citizens as they move through an area, providing a digital bubble that connects them silently with their community.

I can’t wait to see what the residents of Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz do with their Christmas lights later this year…some innovative public light shows perhaps?

Read more at Treehugger or a short video at BBC News

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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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