San Diego poised to become one of the world’s smartest cities

By Lisa Lacy | n/a

February 27, 2017 | 4 min read

Thanks to a partnership with Current, the GE startup that specializes in creating intelligent environments for commercial buildings and industrial facilities, the City of San Diego announced a $30m investment to deploy what it called the world's largest smart city IoT sensor platform.

The program will in part transform streetlights into what Current called a connected digital infrastructure that will allow San Diego to collect real-time sensor data that can be used to develop applications that benefit the community.

“From directing drivers to open parking spaces to helping first responders during an emergency, the open data platform offers limitless opportunities to increase safety, optimize municipal systems and create real-time environmental awareness,” Current said in a press release.

The City of San Diego is working with a GE startup to implement a smart city IoT sensor platform.

The City of San Diego is working with a GE startup to implement a smart city IoT sensor platform.

Current’s intelligent CityIQ sensor nodes will be installed on 3,200 San Diego street light poles as the city upgrades 14,000 light fixtures to Current's Evolve LED luminaires. That’s approximately 25% of San Diego's outdoor lighting and is expected to save the city $2.4m each year in energy costs.

Installation of the platform and fixtures is expected to begin in July.

David Graham, chief deputy officer of San Diego, added there’s potential to expand to an additional 3,000 sensor points later this year.

Each fixture comes with an advanced controls system called LightGrid that allows city managers to dim, brighten and check maintenance on the lights remotely.

"Repurposing San Diego's lighting infrastructure in a way that allows the community to put their hands on the heartbeat and nervous system of the city is our way of building a smart city app store," Graham added in the release. "We completed a pilot of the solution in August 2016, which showed us a glimpse of the technology's potential and we're proud to announce San Diego's commitment as the largest digital installation of its kind anywhere in the world."

The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

Sign up

Current is working with AT&T, Intel, ShotSpotter, CivicSmart and Proximetry to deploy the intelligent network in San Diego.

AT&T is the wireless data carrier for the project. All the sensors will be powered by the AT&T LTE network, the release said.

Current also noted Intel silicon and IoT technology will sit inside the intelligent nodes to help extract metadata. The Intel Atom processor E3900 and Wind River software will enable the underlying platform to run intelligent analytics within the light fixture and extract meta data.

In addition, Current said several companies are collaborating on apps to increase quality of life throughout the city. ShotSpotter technology can detect the location of gunshots in real time, CivicSmart leverages data to enhance on-street parking availability and Proximetry helps manage device applications throughout the network.

Current said it has been working to extend similar digital capabilities across cities via their own lighting infrastructures.

Here's a visualization of how Current's CityIQ sensor nodes work.

More from Mobile

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +