From the runway at Newark Liberty International Airport, you can see the entire skyline of Manhattan. It is one of the busiest airports on the continent, so you’d expect it would have a strong and sizable surveillance operation.
But forget about traditional security cameras. Passengers streaming out of taxis and through check-in are being watched by the lighting system.
The airport has installed 171 "smart" LED lighting fixtures, attached to the ceiling, that peer down and record the movements of passengers and staff.
They’re incredible pieces of technology: Sure they illuminate, and use much less energy than other lights.
But each lighting fixture also has computing and networking capabilities.
The system includes cameras and sensors that feed data into it. The airport won’t discuss the system’s full capabilities, but we know it can monitor licence plates of cars entering the departure area or the parking lots.
If a person walks between cars, rather than from a car to the terminal, the lighting system generates an alert.
This could be a sign of someone stealing from cars, rather than a legitimate passenger.