Las Vegas Gambles on a 'Smart City' Technology Makeover - City Lab

Las Vegas is a famously watchful place. Casino cameras keep tabs on players and dealers from the walls, tables, and ceilings. Analytics software tracks and predicts credit-card swipes, game preferences, and buffet choices. Occupancy levels are closely counted; peculiar behaviors noted. It’s all with an eye to lock down the vast stores of cash that keep Sin City afloat. To keep the odds in its favor, the house is always watching.

Recently, the famed vigilance of the Strip’s casinos has been spilling into the city proper. A few miles away, the city of Las Vegas is testing out dozens of cameras, sensors, and internet-connected services, trained on what’s happening downtown.

At the intersection of Main and Clark in front of City Hall, devices hang from a traffic signal like so many koalas on a trunk. A motion-detecting camera, LiDar scanner, infrared sensor, weather probe, and sound detector variously measure pedestrian and traffic counts, air quality, odd noises, and vehicles turning in the wrong direction; they’re the products of the IT companies NTT, Motionloft, Hitachi, and Cisco. At Stupak Park, a half-acre patch of turf behind the Stratosphere, machine-learning software by Microsoft scans for trash, graffiti, and anything else that might demand the attention of a cleaning crew. And coming soon to downtown streetlamps are new “smart” photocells, care of Ubicquia, to control the city’s lighting and boost wifi coverage.

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