Smart North is implementing smart streetlights in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Smart streetlighting begins as a simple cost-saving measure when older streetlights are updated to LED fixtures. However, streetlighting infrastructure has the potential to transform a city, allowing the construction of an economic platform that knits our communities together.
Grand Rapids is positioning itself as center for technological and economic innovation in the Arrowhead region of rural Minnesota. As such, it has embarked on several future forward smart city initiatives including broadband connections, autonomous shuttles, smart street lights amongst others. Rural areas are generally disadvantaged with regards to integrating the latest technologies. Thus, an extra push is necessary in integrating these technologies.
Smart streetlights provide a variety of use-cases. Apart from keeping the streets lit at night, a smart lighting grid can boast robust 5G connectivity throughout the city, as well as provide municipal WIFI access.
Sensors enable a streetlight to collect data, such as water meters, CO2, air quality and temperature, which can all be easily shared among city departments or monetized. Information about traffic and parking collected by video AI is all available to the public, aiding convenience of travel. This technology can also detect car accidents and sounds of distress, enabling quicker first responses. The sensors can also make lighting respond to the environment, depending on weather conditions or an area’s crowding.
Smart North received a grant from the Blandin Foundation to launch the first Smart Street Lights pilot in Grand Rapids. This will also be the first Smart Street Lights pilot in Minnesota. Smart North is leading the vision, project management and scope of this pilot and has engaged several partners with varied technical capabilities including Marquee Wireless, VizWorld, Sisulink, University of Minnesota, ICC, and Visible Cities. Smart North plans to install streetlights at some strategic locations along the goMARTI automated shuttle routes to demonstrate the multiple use cases and value to the city, local businesses and residents. The installation is scheduled for September, although the data collection and analytics phase will continue into 2023.