Smart City megaprojects get a lot of hype. So why do so many turn out to be expensive disappointments?

A languishing brownfield site. A developer’s visions of castles in the sky. Corporate partnerships to build cutting-edge smart city infrastructure. And the promise of luring tech giants prepared to invest billions.

The hype could have easily described Sidewalk Labs’ now aborted Toronto venture, but this story actually played out near Boston, on a decommissioned airbase in Weymouth, about half an hour southwest of a city known for its Ivy League colleges and the booming tech industry spawned by MIT.

When LStar, a North Carolina developer, began building Union Point in the mid-2010s on that base, it looked a lot like many generic master-planned edge city projects. But a partnership LStar established with General Electric in 2017 promised much more: not just a fully wired community, but intelligent lighting (LED street lamps that can be remotely monitored), autonomous vehicles, green energy “micro-grids” and streets equipped with sensors that would gauge traffic,

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New AI software can turn regular security cameras into COVID-19 policy enforcement points

Now being trialed in Georgia smart city Peachtree Corners, the new tech can pick up on people standing too close together and detect whether someone is wearing a mask.


Image: Cawamo

Peachtree Corners, GA, a city northeast of Atlanta known for its pioneering use of smart city technology, is adding a new tool to its lineup: Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software that gives security cameras the ability to tell if people are violating COVID-19 regulations. 

The software, created by UK-based CCTV tech company Cawamo, can be used on any security camera, meaning there’s no need to buy new hardware in order to use it. Instead, the AI monitors live feeds and does its processing from the cloud, or with an optional on-site hardware device that relays data to Cawamo’s cloud platform for a second round of analysis before presenting results in a web portal or mobile app. As part of its

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