When GE was asked why they chose Jacksonville, Fla. as one of two test cities for a pilot program that will use connected LED lighting to provide data to the city, they pointed to the fact that Jacksonville is a tech city. And tech cities attract a tech workforce.
In fact in a recent ranking by New Geography, the city landed in the top 10 markets for attracting Millennials. And the city is ranked second for tech job growth by Forbes.
A tech workforce is essential as Jacksonville becomes a smart city. Smart cities are wired with sensors, harnessing the power of the Industrial Internet (Iot), to collect and analyze data that improves a variety of city services.
There is a convergence of things that makes the concept of a smart city possible, explains Rick Freeman, global product manager for intelligent devices for GE. The lower cost of electronics combines with the availability of wireless networks making it possible to manufacture a light fixture and have it contain sensors. In addition information is now stored in a cloud so a city wouldnt have expensive hardware costs. At the same time communities are comfortable with using the data to analyze and improve services.
By repurposing street lights with LEDs containing sensors, controls, wireless transmitters and microprocessors, Jacksonville, the largest city in terms of area for the continental U.S., will use the pilot program to focus on increasing efficiency through energy savings and better asset management of streetlights. It will also look at issues such as traffic congestion and emergency response time.
Jacksonvilles pilot program will use GEs Predix, a software platform that connects machines, data and people to help improve asset performance management, that when applied to lighting will provide a platform for the future development of intelligent city applications that will deliver efficiency for the city.
The lighting application has great appeal to cities as its a cost savings that can be quickly seen. For example in San Diego, another pilot city of GE, the 3,000 LEDs installed last year generated a savings of $250,000.
The opportunities are endless as the sensors provide access to real-time data that never existed. Other applications for Jacksonville, or any smart city, could include safety-related systems where sensors give warning on weather systems or sensors could provide information to emergency responders.
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