Partnership to introduce tech that will make area one ‘smart city’

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TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Lafayette, West Lafayette, Tippecanoe County and Purdue University are partnering up to become a “smart city.” They’re expanding wireless systems that will benefit residents and schools.

The expansion will give better wireless internet access across the county.

The project is called GLOW, which stands for Greater Lafayette Outdoor Wireless.

“I think it would help with students who come off campus and study, and local businesses. I think that would help,” West Lafayette resident Tyler Sandman said.

GLOW will also upgrade and add wireless access points in downtown Lafayette and in West Lafayette, along Northwestern Avenue near campus.

According to a press release, Purdue will broadcast PAL over the new city access points, along with eduroam, a secure network access service that enables university faculty, staff and students to connect to Wi-Fi at thousands of partner locations worldwide using their home campus credentials.

“I mean it would be nice for everybody, especially if people are cut off from their data,” said Lafayette resident Jacob Hedgecough.

Purdue University has been buying the technology that the access points run through for years. But now, the university is looking to get the cities more involved — at the same discounted price Purdue receives.

“Look, we’re large buyers of this kind of equipment,” said Gerry McCartney, Purdue’s vice president for information technology. “I think there is an opportunity here to do something interesting in terms of helping the cities run themselves better.”

The expansion will also help the cities run smoother.

“You can use it for water management in cities and street-light management, parking information. You can use it obviously to control your traffic lights,” said McCartney.

He said GLOW will make the two cities more appealing.

“We’ll call this a success when Lafayette and West Lafayette are doing something a year from now that they aren’t doing today.”

The cities have bought some of the devices, but now it’s a matter of time to see how they implement them. The goal is to have the system up and running in six months.