DreamBiz is a smart city app concept designed to help business owners find the ideal location for a new store front.  GoGoKart directs food trucks to locations with busy foot traffic and available parking spaces.  M.O.I.S.T controls lawn watering systems.  All of these apps could be coming soon to a city near you, thanks to smart city infrastructures being built around the country today by Current by GE. Last year, more than 60 apps were designed at hackathons to help cities solve their toughest challenges using data collected through a network of intelligent sensors and connected street lamps from Current, powered by GE.

Think about it. Street lighting is everywhere. So as cities around the globe transition to more energy efficient LED technology, illumination is only the beginning of what’s possible. Now this widespread digital infrastructure is becoming the central nervous system of truly intelligent cities -- delivering real-time intelligence to create a new model of civic engagement that connects citizens, the local developer community, entrepreneurs, start-ups, universities and companies.

Smart cities are exploring how to translate secure data such as traffic, parking and environmental conditions into apps that drive new city services, optimize operations and improve citizens’ quality of life. City leaders can now enlist the greater community to help them solve their toughest issues, create new revenue streams, drive economic development and make the city a better place to live, work and play.   

 GE’s 2018 Global Innovation Barometer found that 71 percent of global business executives believe the transition to smart cities is one of the few innovations that is actually under-hyped, along with nanotechnology and virtual healthcare diagnosis. The report indicates that while urban infrastructure may not get a lot of attention, innovation leaders recognize that digitized smart systems are important for building the cities of the future. Smart cities like San Diego, Atlanta and Portland, OR that are leveraging technology like Current’s CityIQTM sensor nodes, are poised to change the way we think about innovation & civic engagement.  

In fact, the City of San Diego is building the world’s largest municipal Internet of Things (IoT) network. The city’s IoT network leverages Current by GE’s intelligent cities platform, which utilizes Intel processing technology allowing scalability without compromising the security at every layer. As part of its smart city upgrade, San Digo is deploying 3,200 CityIQ nodes across 14,000 new LED light fixtures, digitizing its infrastructure while saving the city an estimated $2.8 million in annual energy costs.

Atlanta is partnering with its local utility, Georgia Power, AT&T’s Smart Cities framework and Current by GE to deploy 200 CityIQ nodes and explore how intelligent technology can help improve mobility, public safety and the environment. The Atlanta Civic Coding Competition (C3) showcased the network’s potential to help solve city challenges.  The winning team, Paratransit Pal, developed a mobile-friendly web app that improves access and more accurately predicts paratransit arrival times for disabled Atlanta residents. The second-place team, EVA, developed an app that notifies  drivers and vehicles to make way for emergency vehicles. 

The possibilities are infinite for smart cities -  in part because the LED technology that drives energy efficiency and intelligence in street lamps is also pervasive in commercial office buildings, retail stores and industrial facilities today. Companies like Walmart, GM and JPMorgan Chase are using LED technology from Current by GE to make massive energy efficiency improvements while opening new digital possibilities. Many companies are building intelligent environments that can boost employee productivity and address key business challenges like inventory tracking, building systems integration, food waste management and much more.    

Importantly, Current by GE's choice to utilize an open platform concept is causing a large network of app development partners to take notice. Startups like Teem are using sensor data from Current’s digital solution to better manage meeting rooms and forecast future workplace needs; Fract is working with store planning departments to better understand underperforming product lines or store locations and optimize revenue.

We are witnessing the dawn of an exciting new era for intelligent cities and intelligent building environments. Just as a cell phone was once only for making calls and today is the indispensable nucleus of our daily lives, so too will be the future of intelligent lighting environments. The future is bright.