IoT Promising pilots demonstrate how well the Internet of Things may improve a variety of issues, from the flow of traffic to the air quality.
Tech experts are preparing for a flood of Internet-enabled gadgets, from cars to refrigerators, due to the proliferation of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile computing.
According to IDC’s analysis, 16% of the entire market for IoT devices will come from state and municipal governments. About 29% of all government funding on the Internet of Things is going toward “smart cities.”
IDC’s director of Smart Cities research, Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, notes that sending data on congestion and air quality from sensors and other gathering devices to a central location isn’t anything new. But now, with the help of mobile technology, analytics, and cloud computing, it is simpler than ever for government agencies to gather data, keep it safe, and distribute it widely in an effort to increase openness and accountability.
Improvising On Safety
According to Montgomery County, Maryland’s Strategic Process Officer Dan Hoffman, the county has used IoT initiatives to increase safety in low-income communities. The county has installed an antenna atop a Rockville office building and is using protracted, low-power mega wireless technology to relay readings from sensors tracking pollution, toxic fumes, air quality, light, and temperature.
The information is then transmitted over the Web to a publicly accessible gateway for sensor data developed using IBM’s Cloud platform Cloud Service. Simple Text Service and mobile alerts can be set up in applications to check in with residents in the event of a potentially dangerous situation. Otherwise, or if there is no response, the warning is sent to emergency personnel.
In common areas such as homes, laundromats, and utility rooms, “we constructed a lot of the detectors from custom using off-the-shelf hardware,” adds Hoffman. Now that the trial is done, Montgomery County plans to increase ultra-narrowband coverage and launch The Thingstitute, an Internet of Things lab dedicated to public sector applications, this coming fall.
Hoffman says the technological model was well received by Montgomery County since it makes the IoT’s security features accessible to anyone without the need for costly broadband connections. The county intends to open up the infrastructure to outside users in the future. More than his own work, he says, “I’m particularly interested in watching what the others come up with.”
The Plan of Action
To promote the use of public transit, the city of San Jose, California, collaborated with Intel for gather and make publicly available sensor data. Its experimental initiative involved deploying air, traffic, and transportation sensors at strategic urban retail nodes, junctions, public transit hubs, and educational institutions. The sensors, powered by Intel CPUs, relay data to the Intel cloud via 3G and 4G cell towers.
According to San Jose’s CIO, Vijay Sammeta, the sensors have been installed, and the city now is merging and churning up the information for study utilizing cloud-based Hadoop clusters. The city intends to release the information to the public through interactive dashboards and accessible APIs.
Sammeta says, “We’re maintaining an open mind as to what the outcomes will be and what kinds of steps we’d like to consider.” We hope to spark a community-wide discussion about the benefits of taking public transportation into the heart of the city, rather than just suggesting that people give up their cars entirely.
Sammeta, like Montgomery County, sees great promise in the possibility of independently developed, useful mobile applications. It takes self-awareness and a feeling of urgency to make a change, he argues.
Kansas City, Mo., established a connected and smart community strategy to streamline services and urban quality of life using elevated links, monitors, open Wi-Fi connectivity, mobile devices, kiosks, analytics, and entrepreneurial activity.
Kansas City is collaborating with Cisco to create a plan by October and finish the task by next fall. A new streetcar line will start connection and monitoring for lighting, water, and parking.
IoT street lighting is another option. “You don’t need the identical lighting all times of the evening or night or when there is a full moon,” Hand says.
The “living lab” approach will inspire businesses to test their service and life quality concepts in Kansas City. “We want to open up the city to enable startups help us understand and tackle complicated challenges in ways we would not have ever dreamed of or have the capacity for,” adds Hand.
Montgomery County, San Jose, and Kansas City are only just beginning to investigate IoT’s government benefits. Technology, standards, and public-sector partnerships will expand options. Cisco’s Kent predicts no slowdown.