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These smart street lights don’t use their
own brains to adjust to the weather
A Minneapolis suburb that is trialing tunable-white LED street lights
has now equipped them to automatically adjust brightness and color
temperatures based on weather conditions. While the lights at White
Bear Lake contain other types of sensors such as photocells that note
daylight and darkness, they do not house a single chip dedicated to
weather detection or forecasting ( http://bit.ly/2lw6x Th).
Rather, controls company Echelon Corp. feeds the lights with
weather information provided by partner IBM, which acquired a
large chunk of The Weather Company in an important buttressing
of IBM’s Watson Internet of Things (Io T) strategy.
The lights know that a blizzard is raging not because any onboard
circuits have directly detected it, but because the IBM Watson system has informed them. Once notified, the Echelon Lumewave system
takes appropriate action. According to Echelon, the town can pre-pro-gram the lights to, for instance, deliver brighter and warmer colors
during a snowstorm in order to minimize glare. Or they can deliver
bluer colors during a thunderstorm to enhance visibility and alertness.
IBM’s Weather Company claims to produce forecasts for 2. 2 billion
locations every 15 minutes, drawing on data collected through a vast
global network of weather stations and sensors that note changes in
air pressure and other indicators.
White Bear Lake marks the first known example of how Echelon
is working with IBM’s Watson group. Echelon pays IBM for the Watson Io T service, and in turn structures deals with its lighting customers on a service basis. ◀
GE alters smart street lighting strategy
to serve as AT&T subcontractor
General Electric’s Current division has rejigged its business strategy
on smart city projects so that it will now serve as a subcontractor
to communications giant AT&T, such as on a new pilot program in
Atlanta. The move follows the washout of Current’s intelligent street
lighting trial in Jacksonville ( http://bit.ly/2oV9gL9).
AT&T announced in January that it is teaming with Current and
with electric utility Georgia Power to outfit Atlanta with 1000 wirelessly controlled LED street lights that form the backbone of an Io T
smart city trial in five areas of the city.
The scheme includes GE Io T sensors mounted on street lights to
help note things like traffic, crowds, crime, and air quality. The idea is