Streetlights in San Diego numbering approximately 3,200 will be equipped with sensors, microphones, and cameras by General Electric Company (NYSE:GE). This will be the first time that smart city technology will be deployed on such a large scale by the U.S. conglomerate. The tools are based on technology devised not just by General Electric but also by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).
According to GE, the tools can be used to assist in pinpointing crime and monitoring traffic. Using sensing nodes installed atop light poles, it will be possible to determine the speed of vehicles, estimate the size of a crowd, locate gunshots and other tasks. The data will then be provided to developers, students, and entrepreneurs who will then go on to build the requisite applications.
Smart city demand
Tech companies expect a surge in demand for smart city technologies and systems as authorities in urban areas seek to improve operations. For General Electric, San Diego is an experiment for the IoT technology that the conglomerate is developing for urban areas, industrial sites and commercial buildings.
“This is a brand new market. San Diego is a very early adopter. While it’s a smallish deal in dollars it’s the biggest deal of this kind yet.” General Electric Current’s CEO, Maryrose Sylvester, remarked during an interview.
Some of the sensor nodes will be installed beginning mid this year. To upgrade the lighting, GE will spend upwards of $30 million on the 14, 000 lights that are initially earmarked. This will also additionally save the city about $2.4 million annually.
Though privacy issues that may arise were not discussed, the program was nevertheless approved in December last year. A spokesperson for the mayor of San Diego clarified that during the pilot phase of the project back in 2014, there were no objections that were raised. Additionally, he added that the data is anonymous as it lacks personal identifiers. And unlike in the footage that security cameras generate, the videos in the smart city project lacks details of that nature.
On Wednesday shares of General Electric Company fell by 0.62% to close the day at $30.33.