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These Lamps Are a Lot Smarter Than They Look

March 18, 2014
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These Lamps Are a Lot Smarter Than They Look
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A new effort in Florida will build the largest-ever streetlight smart grid.

We have smartphones, smart televisions, and smart thermostats, so why not smart lights?

As it turns out, we soon will. Last week, Silver Spring Networks announced it will build the largest-ever project to connect streetlights to a smart grid in the United States. The company plans to work with its client Florida Power & Light to build 75,000 smart lights  in the Miami-Dade County area.

Not only will this be the biggest such undertaking yet, but it will be the first to connect streetlights to a network used for smart metering. Each lamp will serve as a node that collects information about the grid. Workers will be able to control the lights, monitor outages, and figure out how to fix problems remotely. Because the streetlights will be connected to the same grid as houses and businesses, the additional information they provide will help the company diagnose and fix outages more quickly and pinpoint where the problem is originating. “To them, a street light is just another sensor on the network,” Sterling Hughes, Silver Spring’s senior director of advanced technology told Jeff St. John of GreenTech Media. “The lighting serves as a perfect canopy to strengthen the network.”

Silver Spring has previously worked on smart grid streetlight programs in Paris and Copenhagen. Hopefully this smart idea will prove to be a useful model here in the States as well.

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