On MNN, I am doing a series about how new smart technologies are going to affect the way we live and work.
Back in the '20s when this photo was taken, police walked the beat and electric streetlights were turned on manually with a switch. Then things got really sophisticated when streetlights got photocells and turned themselves on when it got dark. But when you think about it, streetlights could do so much more. Or, they could do much less. Why have them on if nobody is around to need them? Sami Grover has noted that streetlights are getting smarter, but how smart can they get?
These streetlights from Sensus are each a separate node in the internet of things. Not only do they save energy but they can be changed for all kinds of reasons. Operators can pump up the output at closing time for the stores, making customers feel safer. They can do it again at bar closing time. In fact, if the police get a report of activity near a particular set of streetlights, they can crank up the output. (As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis noted way back in 1914, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”)Read more in MNN.