Cities around the world are upgrading their infrastructure and technology networks to become more intuitive and integrated. With the global number of smart cities predicted to quadruple in the next 8 years, big changes are on the horizon–but residents may have to look twice in order to see the transition.

As part of this evolution, Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building such as the roof, skylights, or facades. This allows the BIPV panels to blend in with the surrounding landscape. If you don’t know what to look for, the addition of BIPV can go largely unnoticed. In the same vein, ClearWorld’s aesthetically pleasing Solar LED solutions blend right into their surroundings while also benefitting them.

Smart cities are becoming smarter about how they integrate the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of everyday devices that are wirelessly connected and exchange data. Not only can streetlights get a smart city upgrade with RetroFlex technology, but other everyday objects are also connecting to the IoT. Bigbelly solar trash cans communicate with the sanitation department in their city and allow for fewer garbage pickups, more efficiency and more savings. MIT’s Media Lab produced a solar bench, called the “Soofa bench”. These public benches are each embedded with a mini solar panel, two USB ports, and wireless connectivity capabilities. The benches are now in 65 cities across the US and are considered part of the Internet of Things (IoT)

The installations are often highly publicized, and help to fuel discussion about how to bring smart city applications to cities across the globe. Just like the Soofa benches and Bigbelly trash cans, ClearWorld’s RetroFlex solar LED applications are part of the IoT. The flexible solar panels allow the technology to be retrofitted onto existing infrastructure. Once outfitted, the infrastructure becomes part of the IoT, and can aid in public WiFi expansion, communications for intelligent parking, and more.