AT&T has signed a deal with GE that will see several thousand of the company’s Current CityIQ sensors installed into streetlights in San Diego initially and in other cities as well following that, according to recent reports.
These “Current CityIQ sensors” will be collecting data on traffic, air pollution, weather, parking, etc. — through the use of cameras, microphones, and various other sensors. They will reportedly even be capable of reporting and tracking gunshots.
The deal with GE is part of a $30 million plan to improve San Diego’s lighting system, and thus to cut operating costs. Altogether, the 14,000 LED fixtures that will be installed are expected to reduce annual energy costs in the city by up to $2.4 million.
AT&T will of course be the data carrier for the Current CityIQ sensors, which is clearly why the company created them in the first place.
The privacy issue probably pops up for most of you here. On that note, Reuters reports:
San Diego’s city council approved the lighting in December, without discussion of potential privacy issues raised by the surveillance system, and no objections arose during a pilot that began in 2014 in downtown San Diego, Lebron said.
“It’s anonymous data with no personal identifiers,” she said. Video is not as detailed as security camera footage.
Engadget provides more: “Cities will be able to use AT&T’s M2X and Flow Designer open platforms to do traffic monitoring, parking optimization, gunshot detection, air quality monitoring, weather alerts, and more. They’ll also be able to open up the platform to citizens, developers, entrepreneurs, and universities to ‘create new revenue streams, drive economic development and make (cities) better places to live, work and play,’ GE said in an earlier news release.”
Hard to know what to make out of this news. I have a hard time seeing the claimed capabilities as being ones that will hold up well in real-world use — though, maybe I’m wrong. I guess that AT&T isn’t expecting to get many new phone customers anytime soon, so the company is looking for new revenue streams.
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