- The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has partnered with lighting company Signify to replace 500,000 streetlights in New York State under the state's Smart Street Lighting NY initiative.
- Cities and towns in New York State will be able to replace existing streetlights with new infrastructure that has connected LEDs and can also have internet of things (IoT) capabilities. So far, Signify said more than 50,000 LED streetlights have been installed under the statewide initiative, which launched in early 2018.
- Streetlights installed will be on Signify's Interact City software, which enables local leaders to dim and brighten lights remotely, and centrally monitor outages and planned maintenance in real time. That system can then be upgraded to have sensors with features like environmental monitoring and noise detection.
This partnership is designed to help cities move away from traditional streetlights into more environmentally friendly LEDs, which use less energy and can also be upgraded for other purposes. Cities are looking at streetlight upgrades as a way to move their smart city visions forward, Martin Stephenson, Head of North Americas Systems & Services at Signify, told Smart Cities Dive.
That echoes a study from May from smart infrastructure market intelligence firm Northeast Group LLC, which found that investments in smart street lighting could total $8.2 billion over the next decade. In an interview with Smart Cities Dive at the time, Northeast Group President Ben Gardner said cities "are finally waking up to the benefits of smart street lighting" and see it as the “critical linchpin to the broader smart city space."
While the initiative is at a state level, Signify and NYPA will work with each local government on how they want to use smart streetlights, especially as financial concerns may mean some invest more than others in the technology and its capabilities, Stephenson said.
"Each town and city will have their own vision, and they also have their own budgetary limitations as to what they can do with each of their towns and municipalities, and it's important that we understand that and then we augment their existing infrastructure to really suit their existing plans and visions for the future," Stephenson said.
As Signify's conversations with cities have continued during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Stephenson said an increasing number of local leaders have expressed interest in using smart streetlights as a way to monitor large gatherings, in a bid to try and prevent the spread of infection. Already, technological solutions like LiDAR and germ-killing robots have been floated as advanced ways to keep up social distancing and slow the spread, and Stephenson said local leaders' priorities are clearly shifting.
"This safety discussion is starting to become very important in today's climate, not just with regards to COVID-19, but obviously the current environment in the U.S.," he said. "It's amazing how the conversation is starting to transform slightly."