San Diego to get $30 million smart city network
San Diego to get $30 million smart city network

San Diego to get $30 million smart city network

San Diego may be known for its vibrant tech start-up scene, but the city is set to become even smarter thanks to a new Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

The Southern California city has formed a partnership with Current, a connected tech company owned by GE, to install a sophisticated IoT network.

Current, which creates specialist intelligent systems for commercial and industrial entities, has announced it is to install 3,200 sensors in the city.

Sophisticated tech

Set to cost $30 million (£24.7 million), the network will enable the city to collect real-time sensor data to help it develop services and policies of benefit to its 1.4 million residents.

An open data platform, which will form an integral part of the implementation, will provide officials with an opportunity to increase safety, optimize municipal systems and create real-time environmental awareness.

As well as a focus on data, around 25 percent of the city’s outdoor lighting will also be upgraded through this project. Current has confirmed it is to install 14,000 new LED fixtures.

According to the company, this intelligent lighting network will help the city save an estimated $2.4 million in annual energy costs. Each fixture sports a system called LightGrid, which can be used to control and maintain the lights.

Important partnerships

Although Current is leading the project, the company will work with AT&T, Intel, gunshot detection specialist ShotSpotter, parking specialist CivicSmart and IoT device management company Proximetry to deploy the network throughout the city.

The sensors used are to be powered by American telco AT&T’s IoT network, which will help provide secure and reliable connectivity. Meanwhile, Intel will supply silicon and IoT hardware.

Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego, commented on the importance of the network: “Fostering innovation and improving infrastructure are important to enhancing the lives of all San Diegans.

“This new technology will give the city and developers the opportunity to make our neighborhoods safer and smarter.”

Read more: AT&T signs deals to develop smart city capabilities in Ireland and beyond

A big opportunity

David Graham, chief deputy officer of neighborhood services at the City of San Diego, said: “Repurposing San Diego’s lighting infrastructure in a way that allows the community to put their hands on the heartbeat and nervous system of the city is our way of building a smart city app store.

“We completed a pilot of the solution in August 2016, which showed us a glimpse of the technology’s potential, and we’re proud to announce San Diego’s commitment as the largest digital installation of its kind anywhere in the world.”

Maryrose Sylvester, president & CEO of Current, said she’s proud that her company is leading this important project. “We’re honored to be part of this historic transformation,” she said in a statement.

“We have a proud history of helping San Diego proactively save energy through efficient lighting, and now we’re expanding that same infrastructure beyond energy into a new realm of intelligence.”

Read more: Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular smart city transport

Smart city ‘halo’ effect

Ian Hughes, an IoT analyst at 451 Research, said that cities are turning to connected technology to help them boost sustainability and support the lives of citizens.

“Pressures on cities to reduce costs and energy usage and also to attract business and citizens to them, means they have to start to use technology to achieve this,” he told Internet of Business.

“The initial benefits of a smart city project are often in one area, such as lighting or waste management, but the infrastructure and the halo effect of a successful project gives other parts of a city infrastructure the impetus to engage in digital transformation.

“Just as a city grows through physically building around its roots a city can also grow by building out from a digital core.”

Read more: Chicago implements CIVIQ smart city solution to boost citizen engagement