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30 Best Small Companies to Watch 2020

An Interview with Anil Agrawal, CIMCON Lighting, Inc. Founder and CEO: ‘We’re a Recognized Leader in Smart City Innovation’

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“We believe in not only being at the forefront of developing smart city technologies but also in educating cities, towns, and municipalities about the many benefits that can be achieved beyond doing an LED upgrade.”

CIMCON Lighting, Inc. provides smart lighting and smart city technology solutions. It creates a wireless sensor network and platform enabling cities to improve and manage street and roadway lighting, monitor air quality, meter electric vehicle chargers, improve public safety and security, optimize parking, traffic and more.

The company was incorporated in 2012 and is headquartered in Burlington, MA.

Anil Agrawal, CIMCON Lighting, Inc. Founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

CIMCON Lighting is the global leader in smart lighting and smart city technologies. Our goal is to help cities maximize their streetlight infrastructure to improve public safety and resident quality of life through the deployment of intelligent lighting controls and our NearSky smart city platform. The 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. Some of the smart city applications that we currently offer through our NearSky platform include traffic analytics, people counting, air quality monitoring, noise/gunshot detection, parking management, crowd detection, and road temperature sensing.

Q. What are the challenges addressed by your streetlight control solutions?

CIMCON’s intelligent streetlight control solution enables cities to bring together intelligence, controls, wireless connectivity, and smart sensors to their street and roadway lighting infrastructures. Our smart lighting controls provide the ideal ‘on-ramp’ for connecting a city’s streetlights and making them ‘smart’ by creating a ‘multi-services’ platform for driving energy efficiency, sustainability, and a reduction in operating and maintenance costs.

Designed for LED, solar, and HID-based lamps, CIMCON uses the latest RF-Wireless technology to connect 7-pin ANSI compliant controllers to a robust, web-based Central Management System (CMS) via a wireless gateway, thus allowing cities, towns, and municipalities to quickly and easily manage all of their street and roadway lighting assets via one easy to use platform. In addition to ‘adaptive dimming’ and robust scheduling capabilities, CIMCON’s smart lighting solution enables the addition of numerous other sensors, including but not limited to tilt, traffic, motion, and occupancy.

Q. Tell us in brief about your patent and its contribution to your success.

CIMCON Lighting has been granted 12 U.S. patents for its smart streetlight control systems, NearSky smart city platform, and related processes and use of complementary technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). The revolutionary technology that our team has been able to develop and their foresight in identifying smart city trends and the unique requirements of individual cities and how our technologies are able to adapt have been critical to our success, and have enabled us to become a smart cities technology leader.

Q. How flexible are your products/services for customization?

At the core of our products is NearSky, which is the most advanced smart city platform available at the edge. At CIMCON, we believe that no company can provide all the outcomes that every city in the world needs. Each city is different and has individual needs; hence it is essentially a requirement that any product/platform has the flexibility to allow multiple vendors to integrate their products and services to provide the outcomes that cities would want. Our NearSky platform provides extensive integration capabilities that allow our partners to integrate their devices on their own into the platform. Once the integration is complete, our partners work with us to test and verify that the new application or build can be deployed from the cloud on any new or existing customer(s) streetlight network. Today, we have more than 25 partners that have integrated their devices into our NearSky platform to provide 15 different outcomes for the cities that we support. We are actively working with another 100 partners to expand this portfolio to ultimately enable cities to have the applications and data that they need to improve public safety and resident quality of life.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

At CIMCON Lighting, we are very excited about what the next five years will bring. We are fortunate that we can create a whole new economy that we like to call the ‘pole economy’. As the ever-present piece of real estate in every city and town, the streetlight pole, with its vertical height makes it the ideal location to mount things like 5G towers, digital displays, Wi-Fi assess points, cameras, air quality sensors, and EV charging stations. The ‘pole economy’ creates an ecosystem that allows a multitude of providers to make money from the streetlight pole. For example, the pole owner (be it a city or utility) can make money from renting space on the pole. Network providers can make money from providing internet service and digital advertising. The data coming from the devices on or near the pole enables mobile app developers to create a wide variety of new applications. Data analysts have limitless opportunities to analyze the data coming from the devices to help city planners create informed policies and programs. Our NearSky smart city edge platform provides the 3Ps: Power, Permitting, and Processing all in a single device that removes the friction and opens up the ‘pole economy’. Overall, our platform helps improve operational and financial performance for cities, while providing an easy way for technology and service providers of varying sizes to take advantage of IoT opportunities. Our focus will be 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.

Q. What are the changes we can expect in a Smart City landscape?

At CIMCON, we believe in not only being at the forefront of developing smart city technologies but also in educating cities, towns, and municipalities about the many benefits that can be achieved beyond doing an LED upgrade. Our sales and customer success teams have many years of experience in helping cities evaluate their needs and present how our intelligent streetlight controls and NearSky platform applications can help them monetize their assets, improve the environment, and create safer streets. Our ROI Calculator, available on our website at www.cimconlighting.com is easy to start learning how our smart lighting controls and smart city applications can help your city.

“Our focus will be 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.”