Tonight, look outside. Syracuse begins upgrade to “smart” street lights

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — When people living in the city of Syracuse look outside their windows, more and more neighborhoods will notice the new “smart” street lights.

“We will be the most connected city in the entire country.”

–Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh

Mayor Ben Walsh brought NewsChannel 9 to the first neighborhood to benefit from his bright idea: The Valley.

This week, the bucket truck begins going pole to pole, taking down the old light head and putting up the new one. The trucks will work south to north, installing 3,000 new heads a month, before the entire city is covered in 18,000 new street lights.

The “cobra head” style will be done first. Then, the crews will re-canvass the city to do ornamental lighting, like in Armory Square.

Mayor Walsh says his constituents will notice the difference: the light heads are thinner and the lighting will be less orange in color.

Each light head has a “smart node” on top, which sends information from each light pole to a network.

The brightness of each single light or a neighborhood of lights can be controlled remotely. In an emergency, lights can be turned up. For a downtown concert, lights can be brought down.

The nodes will also alert city hall to a blown bulb before a human even has the chance to notice it.

Eventually, further heading towards the status of “smart city,” Syracuse leaders plan to add other nodes to each light that can detect local weather, road surface conditions and traffic congestion.

Along with the bulb conversion, the City is also taking control of the light heads from National Grid, purchasing them with an almost $40 million loan.

Mayor Walsh says that’ll be paid off by the $3 million city taxpayers will save by the lighting upgrades.

Walsh calls it an investment in the future. He says, “As we look to the new economy, and the fourth industrial revolution, it’s all based on connectivity and the internet of things, and this is really the foundation for being in a position to compete in that new economy. “


For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan 

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