According to Anil Agrawal, Founder and CEO at CIMCON Lighting “passion” and “focus” are two essential traits needed to become a successful entrepreneur. “You need to totally believe in what you are doing, because during your journey you will face several challenges that could derail you from your mission unless you are passionate about your idea and stay focused,” says Anil. “I have been lucky, since what I do at CIMCON Lighting has such a huge social impact that it is not difficult to get myself and others behind it.”

For Anil, continuous innovation and relentless focus on execution have been two key qualities that have helped him in making CIMCON Lighting a pioneer in Smart Cities. Together with his team, Anil solves tough city problems using technology that has multiple disciplines. “Our technical team includes hardware engineers, firmware and software engineers, mechanical designers, network engineers and system architects,” he adds. “Not only do these engineers need to create innovative products, they also need to ensure they are extremely easy to implement and affordable, and that requires tremendous execution focus.”

“At the end of each day, you need to think about whether you have made a difference and gotten closer to your goal. If the answer is “yes” it gives you a tremendous boost and gets you ready for the next day with even more energy,” says Anil. “The tough part for any entrepreneur is that he or she has to always be positive in front of his or her team no matter what, and encourage them to maintain a proper work-life balance.” Anil shares the primary recommendation with any want-to-be entrepreneur—don’t try to become an entrepreneur to get rich, one should become an entrepreneur because they want to solve a problem that will make this world a better place for others, and if they do it right money will follow!

Just in Time Lighting

Anil has pioneered the concept of “Just In Time Lighting” using an industrial strength Internet Of Lights (IoT) platform. “Just in Time Lighting” was a concept that he adopted from “Just in Time Manufacturing” approximately ten years ago to describe how CIMCON’s smart lighting technology at the time could help cities reduce energy, maintenance and repair costs, while improving the quality of lighting services. “The goal of our platform both then and now is to provide the right amount of light when and where it is needed using adaptive dimming based on street activity to reduce energy wastage,” explains Anil. “This concept continues to evolve as we see greater pressure on cities to conserve energy to reduce costs and improve the environment, while maintaining a high level of safety for citizens.”As time has gone by, CIMCON’s platform has evolved from a smart lighting platform to its NearSky smart city platform, which allows cities to not only manage their lighting “Just in Time”, but also monitor and manage a variety of assets on or near the streetlight pole in real-time.

CIMCON’s NearSky smart city platform transforms a city’s streetlight infrastructure into a powerful “Internet of Municipal Things” (IoMT) by simplifying the deployment of sensors, cameras, and other devices, so that cities can more easily build a digital, data driven city. The platform offers standards-based communication channels, power for devices and “plug and play” connectors that simplify the installation and maintenance of diverse smart city devices, while avoiding the expense and effort of building an additional network (e.g. fiber optic or Wi-Fi). In addition, the platform provides a comprehensive backend, with data storage capabilities, analysis tools and APIs that allow cities to fully process data that is collected across a city’s network of sensors and devices.

Recently, CIMCON completed a project for the City of Cape Coral, Florida, a city of 200,000 residents and growing. The city’s goal was to improve the quality of life and maintain public safety in its vibrant downtown district. The city deployed CIMCON’s NearSky smart city platform along with forty video cameras on downtown city streetlights to help its public safety teams and first responders. In addition, to the NearSky smart city platform, the city is also using CIMCON’s intelligent lighting management system to provide better quality lighting in the downtown area for residents and visitors, while also enabling more effective management of the city’s lighting assets.

Towards the Future

“At CIMCON Lighting, we are fortunate that we have the ability to create a whole new economy that we like to call the ‘Pole Economy’. If there is one piece of real estate that cities own and that is present everywhere it would be the streetlight pole,” explains Anil. “The beauty is that it has power, is vertically located and has the height that makes it ideal to mount things like 5G towers, digital displays, WIFI assess points, cameras, air quality sensors, EV charging stations, you name it.”He adds, there is money to be made by the owner of the pole by just renting space. There is money to be made from providing internet service and pushing ads. Then, once customers start having data around air quality, foot traffic, traffic patterns, road conditions and more they can start monetizing it. For example, Starbucks would pay money to get access to foot traffic data to figure out where to open the next Starbucks; insurance companies would pay to get this data to figure out premiums, which could drive home prices just to name a few use cases. “So, our focus is to keep expanding our ecosystem of partners that would use our NearSky smart city edge platform and provide the outcomes that cities are looking for to start a whole new economy where everyone makes money,” adds Anil