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Smart streetlight bods Telensa nearly double full-year revenues

Firm also moved production from Asia back to Wales

Smart city firm Telensa, which specialises in connected streetlights, has doubled its headcount and almost achieved the same for its revenues, growing them from £12m last year to £22.8m this year.

The Cambridge-based company's full-year results, published at Companies House today, also revealed its operating profit for the year ended March 31 skyrocketed from £62,000 last year to £3.2m this year.

Telensa mainly makes smart streetlights on which it hangs its proprietary ultra narrowband (UNB) low power, wide area (LPWA) infrastructure Internet of Things (IoT) network. In plain English, this means they build LED streetlights that can be wirelessly controlled. Its UNB network runs in unlicensed spectrum, similar to more widely adopted IoT connectivity standards such as Sigfox and LoRaWAN, both of which also operate in unlicensed spectrum.

Unusually, the company moved its production from Asia back to the UK – Pencoed in South Wales, to be precise – earlier this year, citing the "reputation for quality and long-term cost-effectiveness" of the Sony UK Technology Centre, which now makes around a quarter of a million streetlights per year for Telensa's customers.

Among its notable early customers was Suffolk County Council, which has had 60,000 Telensa lights installed since 2011. The council controls the lights remotely, with the main idea of the scheme being to lower electricity costs. As we noted last year, Telensa has also put cameras on its streetlights in the village of Great Barton, for counting passing vehicles and "measuring average speed".

While smart streetlights are not as eye-catching as, say, self-driving cars, a number of companies are starting to target the market. Huawei is the biggest example, and the Chinese firm has poured a lot of time and effort into its smart streetlight offerings in Asia. These have had limited takeup in the UK, mainly because councils appear to be unconvinced of the total cost of ownership versus traditional streetlights. ®

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