Syracuse Gets Additional Support on its Path to Becoming NY State's First Large Smart City

Jan 31, 2019

Examples of smart technology can be seen on this display at the state of the city address.
Credit Scott Willis/WAER News

The City of Syracuse is getting a boost in its efforts to become the first large municipality in the state to test Smart City technologies.  The New York Power Authority has awarded a half million dollars to the project as part of the larger Syracuse Surge revitalization plan. 

Chief Data officer with the city Sam Edelstein says sensors will be placed on 17,000 streetlights as they’re switched to more efficient LED’s.

“We need to know what works and what doesn’t work and be able to test.  The city is a big place, so understanding what’s happening citywide on every single street and block will ultimately take a lot of investment and a lot of thought about the right ways to roll out different technologies.”

Edelstein says it’ll allow the city to figure out the best ways to improve its own operations and services.  

“We will use that network then to deploy other types of technology.  Thinking about how the challenges that we face as a community and the barriers that people face on a day to day basis, can help to be understood the hopefully resolved through increase data collection.  And, using data to drive decisions that we make as a city.”

There are other benefits, as well.  Edelstein says the city will install and test equipment that can bridge the digital divide, and simply add convenience.

“Part of the plan is to increase connectivity citywide, so offering more Wi-Fi capability so that people when they're out and about in the city can connect to the internet without using their own data plan on a cellphone for instance.”

The larger goal, though, is to leverage opportunities for residents and grow the economy.  Mayor Walsh said during his state of the city address the city is positioning itself as a leader in smart technology development.

“The Central New York region, with support from Governor Cuomo and New York State, are leading industries of the future like unmanned aircraft systems and cyber security, which align well with two of the premier career in technical education programs in our city school district.”

The Syracuse Surge includes the restoration of the former Central High School into a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math...or STEAM school.  It will be the centerpiece of a Southside Campus extending southeast of downtown.  The work on the streetlights and sensors will begin soon.