Smart lights for environmental monitoring

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

23338346_mMany cities around the United States have begun using LED lightbulbs in their street lamps in order to save energy and money, as the old lightbulbs are not economical to say the least. This transition, even if done for environmental reason alone, holds more aspects that should not be taken for granted nowadays. These economical lightbulbs can be installed with advanced sensors that can monitor what is taking place in the lightbulb’s surroundings, and if we consider that across the cities of north America there are over a billion lampposts, then we have a very powerful way of gathering information. The smart lights are connected to the internet, providing information on weather, pollution, seismic activity and traffic and parking space monitoring. Another use of as a security measure to track the surrounding area around the lamppost. The use of these lightbulbs started as a pilot program in one of New-York’s airports, in which 171 smart LED lightbulbs with security cameras were installed. They goal was to monitor car traffic as well as detect unattended luggage left behind. In addition to New-York, Las-Vegas is also making use of this technology and in the city streets lighbulbs were installed that can record nearby sounds.

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By using the smart lights, many cities can function efficiently and save a lot of money since after analyzing the received data, it’s possible to save up to a third of the consumption energy. They can also provide information on a lot of subjects, such as locating available parking spaces nearby as well as analyzing the air pollution around them. The cost of a lighting system that uses smart LED lightbulbs is anywhere between 200 to 2000 dollars, but the savings from using them can reach up tp 70% in relation to using regular lightbulbs. Furthermore, these lightbulbs have a lifespan of over ten years compared to just a few years of the regular lightbulb. The cost of connecting them to the network so that all information can flow from one place and analyzed for producing results and re-organization is around $150 for one lightbulb.

Despite the pbvious advantages of the smart lights, there are those who oppose their use due to invasion of privacy issues. Those who oppose claim that using them could include recordings of person, inncocent coversations and tracking the citizens as if they were under the Big Brother’s constant watch that hears, sees and knows everything.