A connected smart city still does not exist, experts warn

San Diego  has announced the largest deployment of an Internet of Things platform in the world.

A string of smart city experts at Lux’s Lighting Fixture Design conference in London this week, urged caution in the face of a high tide of hype that is sweeping the lighting industry. The warning came as San Diego announced the largest Internet of Things deployment in the world.

Speaking at the Lux event, Mark Cooper, who runs the independent consultancy Smart City  Advice, commented that despite there being many ‘smart city projects’ there was no one city that could yet claim to be fully interconnected.

‘The cost of smart cities currently outweighs the benefits to the end user, at the moment,’ Eddie Henry of Light and Life Associates told the conference. ‘But that could change.’

The change could well be the impending release of Bluetooth 5, which is expected to put the smart city revolution on a much speedier path to full realisation.

However, the experts warned that despite the advances in technology, the fully functioning smart city may be held back by local government.

‘Smart cities cannot work in silos,’ Cooper told the conference. ‘They have to interconnect, but local government departments have the habit of not communicating, which will make the development of a fully fledged smart city difficult.

If local authorities install smart city technology wisely though, then they will save money, there is no doubt about it,’ Cooper concluded.

Henry concluded on a more circumspect note, doubting the ability of local government to get on board with the new technology quickly enough.

‘Local government is going to have to find the time not only to build their smart city knowledge, but also to manage smart city applications. Will they be able to find that time?’ Henry concluded.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, California, the latest smart city project has been unveiled.

The mayor of the city, Kevin Faulconer, announced a major expansion of the city’s smart sensor laden street lights, which are able to gather and disseminate data on traffic levels, air quality and parking place availability.

San Diego’s City Hall has partnered with Boston form Current, powered by GE, to install 3,200 ‘smartlight sensors’, in what the city is calling ‘the largest city-based deployment of an Internet of Things platform in the world'.

The sensors will be able to help guide first responders to emergencies, track carbon emissions and direct drivers to free parking bays. The lights will also be able to dim and brighten automatically depending on the weather conditions. 

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