Digital Industrial World: Multitasking Streetlights Brighten City Life

Digital Industrial World: Multitasking Streetlights Brighten City Life

October 26, 2015 at 02:10pm

It’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s a bad idea for humans to multitask in the workplace, even if a recent poll in Dubai’s Gulf News newspaper found half its readers think otherwise.

Multitasking on the road is even more perilous, unless you’re a GE LED light illuminating the roadway, when multitasking can actually enhance safety.

After decades of streetlights doing one important task — lighting roads, walkways and parking lots — GE LED streetlights can now do dozens of things at the same time. Especially in the context of the smart city, new LED lighting systems can incorporate Wi-Fi technology and dozens of environmental sensors to help cities keep a close eye on myriad health and safety issues.

These LED lights can help drivers find available parking, traffic managers address congestion and changing weather conditions, monitor air quality and ground conditions … even provide emergency responders with data about the incident. Of course, they also can provide advanced LED lighting solutions that improve road and street safety while reducing electricity consumption.

Future networked LED streetlights will have the ability to direct drivers to available spaces with the help of built-in sensors and wireless transceivers. The same streetlight could serve as a sensor and give warnings in the event of a hurricane through a public-address speaker concealed within the light post.

Today, the Spanish region of La Garrotxa, known for its volcanic landscape, has become one of the first test sites for these types of early warning system. Using Wi-Fi technology and more than 40 environmental sensors managed through a city dashboard, local officials can monitor river levels for early signs of floods, temperature, humidity and CO2/CO levels to detect forest fires, which are common in the area.

By reimagining road LED lighting to include sensors, controls, wireless transmitters and microprocessors, cities can create new opportunities for reducing cost, optimizing operations and creating value-added services for residents, making their cities even more livable and workable.

These solutions are powered by Predix, GE’s innovative software platform that connects machines, data and people to help improve asset performance management. In the context of smart cities, Predix offers a platform for the future development of intelligent applications that can deliver efficiencies to cities and conveniences to citizens. Turns out some multitasking can be smart, after all!

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