Tech can help cities improve services – but first, leaders must ask tough questions about privacy, fairness, and more

During a Zoom call earlier this year, Jim Benson, a senior marketing manager for GE Current, walks through a slick but intriguing PowerPoint presentation, praising the diverse virtues of the company’s smart lighting nodes.

Intelligent environment

General Electric, he begins, has been in the lighting industry for over a century. In recent years, the company’s “intelligent environment” group has begun to think about street lighting – an “underused asset” with enormous potential. The commercialization of sustainable, energy-efficient LED lamps opened that door when municipalities looking to reduce emissions began replacing their sodium street lamps with these new products. LED Garden Light can even be adjusted remotely.

GE Current (now spun off)

GE Current (now spun off) wanted to go further and look at street lighting completely differently. The company designed a junction that sits on top of a power pylon, next to the LED fixture. This white plastic box contains digital sensors, computing power and Wi-Fi …

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