A stretch of 10 Mile Road just east of Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills has officially become a test bed for a new brand of intelligent street lamp.

The Intellistreets system from Farmington Hills-based lighting contractor Illuminating Concepts places energy-efficient, wirelessly controlled LED lighting atop metal poles.

As options, the system also offers speakers, LED signs, cameras and crowd counters.

The poles along 10 Mile Road were officially dedicated Friday morning in a ceremony attended by U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Hills), Oakland County Deputy Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini and Farmington Hills Mayor Jerry Ellis.

Illuminating Concepts founder Ron Harwood said the system was “born in the parks of Disney and Universal,” where “imagineers” sought better ways to guide huge crowds of happy people — and to keep them safe if anything dangerous happened.

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Harwood said, Intellistreets also took up the task of helping first responders and guiding crowds safely around disaster scenes to safety and shelter.

Basically, the signs can be programmed by authorities to show any message — a civic welcome, directions to parking for festivals or farmer’s markets, maps, pretty much anything the imagination can conceive.

In emergencies, they can also post pictures of children being sought in Amber Alerts or the location of toxic chemical releases or the paths of tornadoes (and more importantly, how to stay away from those dangerous areas).

Jeff Stribbell, business development director at Illuminating Concepts, said the signs’ wireless controls are double-encrypted, and the control center for the signs can reside anywhere the municipality or authority involves decides it should — right down to, for instance, the fire chief’s smartphone.

The Intellistreets concept has drawn online criticism from civil liberties and religious Web sites, where posters fear it will be used to track citizens.

Harwood and Stribbell dismissed those complaints and said there’s no such intent. Stribbell said the people-watching part of the signs is intended to collect information to be used in economic development and traffic planning.

And Harwood said of the criticism: “The irony is, the first, most important part of this system is to save energy. Its electronics are so smart that it can create light only as needed.” He called Intellistreets overall “a nonpolitical, life-saving, energy-saving invention.”

More at www.intellistreets.com or www.illuminatingconcepts.com.

Comments (17)
  1. livefree says:

    Is anyone in Farmington Hills outraged?

  2. TechLover says:

    Why would they be outraged? Did you even watch the video you just posted? These street lights are awesome. They’re going to save the city money and are better for the environment. Those who think “big brother” are going to be spying on them thru some camera on a street light… Stop being so paranoid! They’re street lights people!

  3. elizabeth smthe says:

    Yup, i see you’re still waiting for Santa Claus to come . Streets lights don’t need to be cameras. Street Lights give light, not spy on people! We who are awake know exactly what these are! And the people of Farm Hills better wake up real quick.

  4. Jones4Ever says:

    Seems to me like Intellistreets is simply unifying the many technologies already in use today into a single form factor. Spy cameras are typically put behind windows within buildings. Speakers attached to buildings. Sensors on extension poles, etc… Now all this stuff is in one spot! They will be easier to take down, just ram them with your car. Life is simpler, no?

  5. Bob says:

    Time to declare war on the light poles. What has this country came to? Still many sheep out there that trust their government. Drug running, injecting kids with poison, poisoning us with fluoride, stealing our children’s future, come on people. Fight for your right to be free! Support Ron Paul 2012.

  6. AK says:

    This article neglects to mention that the intellistreet lights also monitor foot & car traffic with video, head counting, and microphones.

    Kinda creepy. The future is here; our light posts monitor us and display messages from the government.

  7. SODUMB says:

    this is so stupid! technology like this is turning our country into a police-state. Also one of the light posts is in someone’s backyard, essentially monitoring their private home without their consent. Not only does this seem completely illegal but there was no ballot or vote by the citizens! The police are no longer allowed to tap into our cell phones for no reason, so why should they be allowed to watch us for no reason?

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