NY Comptroller Releases Technology Report

Sep 16, 2019

As local governments across New York switch to new technologies to save money, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released his Smart Tech Report today in Schenectady.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

DiNapoli was accompanied by Mayor Gary McCarthy, state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and representatives from National Grid. DiNapoli released his report, “Smart Solutions Across the State: Advanced Technology in Local Governments,” but his focus Monday was clearly on the Electric City.   "Schenectady is working with National Grid on a demonstration project to replace 4,200 company-owned streetlights with LED lights, lighting controls and infrastructure for future-smart city senses and devices."

Chong Lin is senior program manager at National Grid. He says new streetlight technology enables the city to distribute wi-fi signals and make use of data-collection sensors.   "There are different open ports that they could plug in additional sensors and data-collection tools to allow the city to get to the point of what's happening in a neighborhood. If the neighborhood needs more environmental monitoring, then they could attach additional technology there to get down to the granular what's on the street level, what's happening."

The project was funded by a $1 million grant from New York state, which was secured with the help of Assemblyman Santabarbara. A mile-long fiber optic cable running from the fire department’s main headquarters to Fire Station 3 will provide wired connectivity to the smart lighting fixtures and deliver wireless access for a number of potential applications.

A National Grid worker completes installation of new smart lighting fixture along Congress St. in Schenectady, NY,
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

After the press conference, DiNapoli walked two blocks with reporters to observe an LED street light installation on Congress Street.  Mayor McCarthy:   "Our goal is to have cellular really at the G5 level, to have wi-fi, to have a low-pan network. It's a lot of horsepower that we're gonna put in place throughout the city, and again it's gonna create opportunity, not only for residents but businesses, and create a collective energy that other communities are gonna look to Schenectady to see how it's done."

Reflecting on the report, DiNapoli noted that a growing number of New York’s municipalities allow homeowners to pay property taxes, as well as water, sewer and parking tickets, online, while providing high-speed wi-fi service and installing smart parking meters.   "Albany, Kingston and Niagara Falls are among those extending smart meters and mobile parking apps to improve service to customers as well as streamline parking administration."

In his report, (read it HERE)  DiNapoli cautioned local government leaders to prepare to address the heightened need for cybersecurity, as more smart infrastructure devices are installed and come online.