Our journey to Litesense (Part 2 of 3).

Why we do what we do.
21 December 2016

In Part 1, we ended with the need to carry out illuminance measurements in the wee hours of the morning to reduce the risk of accidents. What we neglected to mention was that even during these hours, carrying out measurement activities requires vigilance since standing in the middle of a road is a pre-requisite. There is also the little known fact that there exists an intersection between people who drive and people who stress-relieve in GTA (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Crazy drivers (purely a hypothesis to stress the importance of road safety)

At such hours, fatigue usually creeps in at a faster rate and due to the manual nature of work, the probability of errors during illuminance measurements increases. This results in rework.

Now that we understand the process, we needed to work on three issues:

  1. Effectiveness of measurement accuracy to eliminate rework

  2. Efficiency of measurement “for every lane across every road”

  3. Workplace safety to reduce the risk of accidents

Introducing the Automated Street Light Measurement System

Engineers at heart, the conceptual solution was simple. All we had to do was cobble a number of sensors together and write some software. So we thought. If you have ever tried taking an idea from concept to reality, you would know that this is not a walk in the park. One and a half years and a terrible number of sleepless nights later (testing could only be done at night), the ASLMS was ready to roll (see Figures 2 and 3).

The technicians were now able to perform illuminance measurements across entire roads in the comfort and safety of their vehicles. Productivity gains increased by 8-fold and the risk of accidents reduced to a minimum.

Figure 2: ASLMS up close

Figure 3: ASLMS mounted on top of a vehicle

New learnings

The problem with most devices is that it undergoes wear and tear. After continual usage, external components that we procured for the ASLMS started to fail. We took away two pearls of wisdom:

  1. The design of maintenance contracts are important.

  2. The design of systems are even more important in order to fully optimise Pearl 1 above.

Along the way, we made many good friends (see Figures 4 and 5), learnt a lot about on-the-ground operations in the greatest of details and most importantly, what we had to do to simplify the entire system and workflow. With our treasure trove of newfound knowledge, we went back to the drawing boards.

Figure 4: Muru and Kumar fixing a busted tyre while I capture the memory of them fixing a busted tyre

Figure 5: Just another night with the boys. From left to right: Ryan (lighting pro-to-know), Melvin (CTO of Cosmiqo) and Kumar.

On to Part 3 of 3.

(Cosmiqo©)
Photo by Inés Outumuro on Unsplash

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