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In Atlanta, smart city plans aim for safety

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 2, 2016
CIO says residents are ok with smart cameras to bolster terror fight and crime awareness, though privacy issues could emerge.

To crunch the massive flow of data, Atlanta will be working with Georgia Tech and Georgia State University. "The objective is to leverage those schools to do the big data analytics to inform the city on how to improve operations and efficiency," Saini said.

In January, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed bluntly told tech company executives at AT&T, Ericsson and Intel at a public forum that smart city projects have to be successful enough to help public officials get re-elected.

In addition to smart sensors like cameras for public safety, Atlanta is also piloting technology to accurately capture license plate numbers on cars and perimeter monitoring, Saini said.

Streetlights with smart LED lighting will run atop smart poles with sensors for perimeter monitoring that can be used to watch parking lots. The poles might also include environmental sensors to keep tabs on air quality. Smart poles will be erected in downtown Atlanta in the next month.

Sensors are also planned for monitoring waste water pipe leaks, which could reduce the time needed for a repair, and for water quality -- even though the city doesn't currently have a water quality issue, Saini said. Water usage can also be controlled with water meter sensors to give customers real-time updates.

There's even a plan to deploy smart city trash cans, which will alert a crew to pick up a can when it is full; that can help reduce the number of truck runs. The trash can sensors can be interconnected to air quality sensors through a central management platform as well.

"The system could trigger us to a certain trash bin, because maybe somebody threw a skunk in there," Saini said.


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