By Liz Enbysk
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown believes the new GE street lighting technology his city will pilot this summer has the potential to transform how his city solves problems. Jacksonville and San Diego are both testing the new intelligent cities enabling technology that uses LED street lighting installations to connect, collect and analyze data being generated to help the cities run better.
Driven by Predix™ -- Council Lead Partner GE’s innovative software platform that connects machines, data and people to help improve asset performance management -- the new street lighting solution provides a platform for the future development of intelligent applications that can deliver efficiency for the city and convenience for citizens.
As GE explains, by repurposing street lights with LEDs that contain sensors, controls, wireless transmitters and microprocessors, a city will be able to create new opportunities for reducing costs, optimizing operations and creating value-added services for residents. For example the first-in-the-nation pilot in San Diego adds sensor technology to existing GE smart LED street lights, with a focus on traffic and parking optimization in its urban core.
In 2014, San Diego became the first U.S. city to widely use GE’s LED lighting fixtures with LightGrid outdoor wireless controls technology. The city says technology, deployed on more than 3,000 city street lights, saves it more than $350,000 annually in energy and maintenance costs.
Jacksonville on the front lines
The Florida city, largest in terms of area in the continental U.S., will trial both the intelligent city enabling technology and GE's LightGrid outdoor wireless controls. It's expected to result in significant energy savings because LightGrid allows for more efficient management of street lights. With remote monitoring and GPS mapping, GE says municipalities are able to instantly identify usage and performance of street lights within specific locations.
”Jacksonville is excited to be on the front lines with this pilot project, using new technology to increase efficiency and drive innovation, at no cost to taxpayers,” said Mayor Alvin Brown. “This is another example of how public-private partnerships can drive innovation and provide a return on investment for our taxpayers. This technology has the potential to transform how our city solves problems by allowing us to use the power of data to drive outcomes that give us flexibility, efficiency and new, creative actions to enhance life in our city.”
So how can networked street lights transform cities and benefit residents? Here are a few examples of future applications:
• Networked LED street lights will have the ability to direct drivers to available spaces with the help of built-in sensors and wireless transceivers
• The same street light could serve as a sensor and give warnings in the event of a hurricane or other event through a public-address speaker concealed within the light post
• Microprocessors and other sensors could work together to give emergency responders real-time views of an area as they are responding to a 9-1-1 call, before they even arrive on the scene
“This solution truly presents endless possibilities for cities to learn, connect and improve both their operations and everyday life for their citizens,” says Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO of GE Lighting.
Reprinted with permission from the Smart Cities Council, the Internet's largest source of free smart city tools, resources and case studies. Follow SCC on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Get SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies, case studies and techniques. And build your own roadmap to a better urban future by downloading the free Smart Cities Readiness Guide and the free Smart Cities Financing Guide.