'Internet of things' platform comes to San Diego

SAN DIEGO – Thousands of streetlights around San Diego are being replaced in the next couple of months with brighter, more energy efficient versions that will cut costs and improve public safety.

The money the city saves will then go toward a revolutionary new partnership with general electric called “current”.

Imagine streetlights just like this showing you the nearest available parking spot or helping first responders navigate through traffic during an emergency.  Well, it’s all part of new system being installed and controlled by what they’re calling smart sensors.

More than three thousand smart sensors are being installed on San Diego street lights.  You won’t notice them right away, but the city says the information being collected could help us all.

“It’s smart, intelligent sensors and connecting with real people to help solve real problems,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City of San Diego.

The data used will help direct drivers to open parking spaces.  It can also help first responders identify the clearest route in an emergency, track carbon emissions and even time traffic lights to smooth out traffic flow in real time.

“It’s a little bit cliché to say you can’t manage what you can’t measure, but that is exactly what we’re talking about here. Where the places where people are more vulnerable where are are the places where traffic control needs to be changed or where construction is causing more problems, where people are j walking or putting themselves in dangerous situations,” said Austin Ashe, general manager of Current, powered by GE.

It’s the largest city-based deployment of an “internet of things” platform in the world.  Basically, it’s a smart network that allows sensors to send and receive data through the cloud.

“We will have the application layer ready for the tech community that is local, the university students, the incubators, the small business, everyone can come and be a part of building the smart city applications on top of that,” said Ashe.

Traffic safety, emissions control, parking – the uses for the street light data are only limited by developer’s imaginations.

“Digital infrastructure is a way to drive productivity, efficiency and connectivity between civic leaders and the citizens to make the city perform better and make our hometowns more operational. People are moving to urban communities and they want more out of their community and this is a right way to do it,” said Maryrose Sylvester, GE.

Right now city planners are working on finalizing locations for the new street lights.

Installation is scheduled to begin in July and those apps people can download for free to use with the system will be available later this year.

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