Some residents of Jacksonville, Florida are not too happy about what is happening to their already established network of streetlights.
That is because GE (general electric) is installing 50 what are known as ‘smart lights’ across the large city located in the southern United States.
The city will be getting the lights, which will be monitored by the police and city government, in 30 days.
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The lights, besides being able to do their normal function (provide light), are able to send live feed video over wireless networks of cars, civilians, and anything else around them. The GE lights can also record information that can be instantly transmitted to authorities. The city is receiving the lights for free since it is a trial run of the system.
Jacksonville has become the second city in the world to participate in a high-tech street light project with General Electric, but some residents worry that it could come at the cost of their privacy.
GE on Thursday announced plans to install 50 LED street lights in the city, but the lights do a lot more than keep the roads lit.
The lights also will allow city personnel to see for themselves what goes on in city streets.
“Street lighting will be able to give the city of Jacksonville access to real-time data,” GE general manager Jaime Irick said.
GE held a news conference Thursday to announce the pilot program in Jacksonville. For at least 45 days, and no longer than six months, 50 LED lights will be put up around Jacksonville.
The street lights will have built-in image sensors and wireless transmitters.
Irick said the lights will be able to collect data, such as tracking open parking spaces.
“We’re going to have a camera in every street light, and really a computer in every street light that’ll be able to pull information about available parking, provide that information into the cloud so that citizens would be able to identify which parking spots are available before they come downtown to an area,” Irick said.
The city could in turn use that information to develop an app so people can check for open parking on their smartphones.
GE said the lights could also broadcast city announcements.
“The number of opportunities are endless,” Irick said.
So what will happen to all the data collected by the lights?
GE said that’s up to the city.
But some people are concerned about privacy.
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