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Cities shine bright for Current as it grows digital capabilities

Tianjin intends to extend its smart infrastructure to a wider area and add sensors and software that connect to GE’s cloud platform for the Industrial Internet

Tianjin is at the forefront of lighting technology in Asia
Tianjin is at the forefront of lighting technology in Asia

Tianjin city in China is bolstering its commitment to digital infrastructure through a cooperative agreement with digital industry company GE’s energy start-up, Current, and is one of three new cities to update its LED infrastructure.


Last year, Current successfully rolled out connected fixtures in Tianjin’s central business district which allowed the city to broadcast critical messages, advertise on attached digital screens as well as allow residents speedy connection to the internet.


The new memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlines the intent to explore fresh digital solutions including wider installation of Current’s intelligent LEDs in the city and the setting up of a digital incubation centre within the central business district.


Tianjin intends to extend its smart infrastructure to a wider area and add sensors and software that connect to Predix, GE’s cloud platform for the Industrial Internet. The aim is to be able to pull and analyse data to see the big picture and to take action, if necessary. Examples include: detecting real-time traffic patterns; pointing drivers to available parking spaces; or helping emergency responders react to situations before they arrive on scene.


“The city of Tianjin, together with GE China, Current and our team [here] understand the critical need to deploy sustainable, digital infrastructure that supports urban innovation,” said Li Bo, chairman of the board of Tianjin Innovative Finance Investment Co, the city’s investment partner.


“The intelligent LED deployment, the first of its kind in Asia, together with the digital incubation center, will propel benefits and outcomes for residents and position Tianjin a leader in forward-thinking technology.”


The aim of the incubation centre is to extend digital opportunities by facilitating ongoing innovation between city officials and Current teams and to serve as a demonstration area for businesses considering digital solutions.


Meanwhile, alongside its deployment of LED infrastructure in Schenectady, New York, and Cleveland, Current has added 15 partners and micro-services to its open intelligent environments ecosystem and purchased Daintree Networks, a smart buildings control firm.


“The next wave of innovation will be led by those who embrace digital infrastructure to drive new and meaningful outcomes,” said John Gordon, chief digital officer at Current. “In terms of physical infrastructure, no other platform compares to the ubiquitous nature of lighting and the potential LEDs offer to the commercial and industrial world as the digital platform for industry.


“Deploying intelligent LEDs coupled with sensors, software and scalable access to GE’s Predix platform provides the foundation for that innovation,” he added.


To facilitate data-informed app and software development and outcomes at an enterprise and at the city level, Current plans to introduce six micro-services for its intelligent LEDs and GE’s Predix cloud platform. These architectures will drive data interactions relative to temperature, occupancy, ambient light sensing, pedestrian planning, parking, traffic and public safety, it said.


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