Opelika making tech upgrades; adding energy efficient LED lights, better WiFi

Opelika making tech upgrades; adding energy efficient LED lights, better WiFi

OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - While the City of Opelika prides itself on preserving history, the mayor is eager to make some technological updates.

His first task is replacing city street lights with energy efficient LED lights, otherwise known as smart lights.

These smart lights will dim and brighten based on pedestrian motion and car traffic. This is a project partnership between Opelika Power Services and the City of Opelika’s IT Department.

While the locations have not officially been released, Mayor Gary Fuller said he is looking to start with the Jeter community.

“We need them replaced, and we need them because it’s a high traffic area and it’s kind of dangerous sometimes,” said one Opelika resident.

According to Fuller, the lights will use infrared cameras and radar-based systems. They will be integrated with the current public safety system to allow light to brighten for the first responders before they arrive at a scene.

“We love our heritage and our past, but we’ve got to be thinking about the future in 5, 10, 20 years from now,” Fuller said.

The second improvement is free WiFi in the downtown Opelika area.

“WiFi is helpful for everyone. It’s just part of being a cool city,” Fuller said.

“Especially for college students. Auburn is 10 minutes away, so having that access will be great. And Southern Union is down the street,” said Kylah Schmidt.

Fuller said places like government buildings, restaurants, and downtown stores will benefit. He also says the IT department is working to make sure the WiFi covers the entire downtown area without running into dead zones.

“We are expanding on that to make it so that you don’t get blocked out by a building when you turn a corner,” said Fuller.

Start dates and costs for both projects have yet to be released.

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