This post originally appeared in IOT Insider, a daily newsletter on the Internet of Things industry produced by BI Intelligence, a premium research service from Business Insider.
Street lights will be the network for the future of connected cities, Beth Comstock, vice chair, GE, said. By connecting street lights to the Internet and embedding sensors in them, Current, powered by GE, is working with cities to gain loads of new data on vehicle and pedestrian traffic along their roadways.
“Lighting is the gateway to connectivity: All of these light sockets are an infrastructure that can be connected,” Comstock said at GE’s Connected Future event in New York City.
Current, powered by GE, is working with San Diego, California on smart street-lighting pilots. San Diego has already deployed 4,000 smart LED street lights equipped with video monitors, David Graham, San Diego’s deputy COO for neighborhood services, told the audience. The city is using the video monitors to track parking spaces in the city and has launched a new mobile app for residents to find the nearest parking spaces.
Data from the video monitors is sent back to GE’s Predix™ cloud platform, which applies detection algorithms that tell when a car parks in a space and when it leaves. GE has invested more than $1 billion in the platform and is looking to open it up to developers to create new apps for smart city solutions.
The video monitors also provide data to track pedestrian traffic during big events. When tens of thousands descend on San Diego for Comic Con, the video monitors will help the city adjust vehicle traffic for the massive increase in pedestrians.
The smart LED street lights also provide better energy efficiency: Graham says that the 4,000 deployed in San Diego are saving the city $250,000 annually on electricity.