The company has produced a modular street lamp that can be customized to suit any number of needs, from smart through to municipal WiFi. First up, there are LED bulbs that will offer more efficient , and also the ability to change colors and strobe. That could be useful, for instance, if law enforcement are responding to an emergency, the lights can be flashed to highlight where the crisis is taking place.

Unfortunately, the system will also offer up an easy way to further the reach of our surveillance state, including a camera and a two-way microphone and speaker. In addition, the company is pledging that the footage can be archived and searched, ensuring that Big Brother knows exactly where you are and when. But, on the upside, the system can be fitted out with gunshot sensors, air-quality monitors or even ZigBee controllers.

The placement of municipal WiFi in city centers can also benefit both cities — which can cut down on their cellular subscriptions — and individuals, especially in our smart car future. Wireless infrastructure will better enable machine-to-machine , or at least it could, depending on how it’s implemented. In fact, that’s the rule for all of these things: It all depends on how it’s implemented, and the intentions of those who do.