San Diego Smart City Streetlights

AT&T and GE’s Current are Layering New Smart City Services on Existing Infrastructure

On February 27th, AT&T and Current, an in-house startup within GE, announced a joint initiative to connect more cities to the Internet of Things (IoT). As an early example of this partnership, they’re upgrading the existing city-wide lighting infrastructure of San Diego to LED lights,  and using that upgrade as an opportunity to add a new set of sensors that will let them optimize traffic flow and parking availability, triangulate the location of gunshots, and monitor air quality and weather emergencies in real-time.

It’s a clever use of existing infrastructure to save time and money as they bring advanced services to market, with AT&T filling the gap to connect everything up. AT&T’s LTE wireless network will provide the connectivity,  Current will supply the sensors and services to integrate with existing infrastructure, while Intel’s Atom® Processor E3900 and Wind River software will run analytics and extract meta data.

The solution aims to modernize the cities’ lighting infrastructure with energy efficient LED lights, which creates some of the funding to pay for these additional new services. For example, San Diego expects to save about $2.4 million in annual energy costs, not counting the economic benefits of other services the platform enables. The two companies are working on a similar project in Atlanta announced just last month.

All of these Smart City implementations hinge on the efficient collection, distribution and analysis of real-time information – getting real-time sensor readings to the analytics engines and dashboards where they’re needed, and routing instructions from applications back out to connected IoT devices like light fixtures, indicators and actuators. We applaud and encourage creative solutions like this, and in fact we’ve helped a number of larger cities and government agencies around the world tackle similar challenges, such as Singapore, which is at the cutting edge of Smart City/Smart Nation.