IoT Time Preview: Municipal Partnerships

By Ken Briodagh April 20, 2017

IoT Evolution, the leading media brand for the Internet of Things (IoT), has published a book outlining more than 150 of the leading trends in the IoT industry, entitled “IoT Time: Evolving Trends in the Internet of Things.” The book, written by IoT Evolution Editorial Director, Ken Briodagh, seeks to explore the factors that have shaped the recent past of the developing industry and use those to predict the trends that will drive the next period of growth. Each of the trends is explicated and illustrated with a case study or product review that supports each position.

In this weekly series, we’ll be previewing chapters for you to read in the hopes that you’ll like enough to read the whole thing. To do just that, for free, click here. Alternatively, there’s a paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99.

Chapter 11: Municipal Partnerships
Trend: Connected Cops
Smart Police Cars Set to Protect and Serve in New Jersey

Ewing, New Jersey sits in between New York and Philadelphia, is investing in ensuring its economy thrives and its citizens are safe. The Township has rolled out a platform for equipping its law enforcement professionals with in-vehicle communications that enable officers in the field to access real time applications including information needed to protect the community.

Working with Cradlepoint, the Police Department created a secure end-to-end private network in the cloud over wired and wireless broadband Internet. This single unified network supports fleet management, with information available to dispatchers about where patrol cars are in real time. Over-the-air updates make management of the applications easier, and redundancy between cellular networks, fixed broadband and Wi-Fi brings constant connectivity.

“More and more police departments, like Ewing, are realizing the benefits that cloud-based, software-defined LTE technology provides when it comes to secure and reliable in-vehicle networking,” said Ian Pennell, CMO, Cradlepoint.

With local governments' budgets under pressure, moving to a more digital networking approach to keeping the force connected (compared to traditional radio systems) requires making a business case for saving money and time. So, beyond the natural upside of ensuring safer communities overall, being able to reduce costs while setting the stage for adding future applications may be what it takes for more communities to follow in Ewing Township's footsteps.

Trend: Scandinavian leadership
Finland Gets National LoRa Network, Thanks to Actility and Digita
Actility, a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) company, and Digita, the Finnish broadcast network operator, are teaming up to enable towards a fully-connected Finland by rolling out a nationwide LoRa network. Following the completion of a successful trial period of several months, the companies have seen that the market is ready for a full-scale commercial deployment. The service is available for local implementation everywhere in Finland.

This is the first commercial LoRa network for IoT to be deployed in Finland. The deployment also emphasizes the opportunity that LoRa brings for companies like Digita, which is not a traditional cellular operator, to leverage the tall radio and television masts of their broadcast network to become key players in the internet of Things.

“Maintaining healthy living conditions is easy when the factors that affect residents' comfort can be recognized in real time,” said Kimmo Rintala, head of property development unit, VVO Group, a Digita partner. “Continuous measuring also enables us to detect obvious apartment-specific faults even before the residents themselves have time to react. Digita's solution eliminates the need for property-specific installations, as it is based on sensors within apartments that are able to communicate directly with Digita's system.”

The LoRa core network service is delivered through Actility's ThingPark Wireless solution, and makes use of Digita's broadcast masts so that the technology can be deployed at very high points overlooking the city and be exploited to its full range.

“We believe that IoT technology will revolutionize our daily lives. It can be used, for example, to monitor building conditions, save energy, prevent water damage, prevent theft, locate objects, locate pets, optimize farming and monitor health. In theory, there is no limit to the kinds of applications that are possible,” said Markus Ala-Hautala, COO, Digita.

Trend: Big government investment
White House Makes $80 Million in New Smart Cities Investment

For Smart Cities Week in the U.S., the White House announced $80 million new federal dollars to go toward its year-old Smart Cities Initiative.

“If we can re-conceive of our government so that the interactions and the interplay between private sector, nonprofits, and government are opened up, and we use technology, data, social media in order to join forces around problems, then there’s no problem that we face in this country that is not soluble.” said President Barack Obama in a White House fact sheet.

The Smart Cities Initiative was designed to make it easier for cities, Federal agencies, universities, and the private sector to work together to research, develop, deploy, and test new technologies that can help make our cities more inhabitable, cleaner, and more equitable, including the IoT. The administration expanded the initiative, with the additional investments and a doubling of the number of participating cities and communities. There are now more than 70 municipalities taking part.

These new investments and collaborations are helping cities in the following key technological arenas:

Climate: There will be almost $15 million in new funding and two new coalitions to help cities and communities tackle energy and climate challenges. One Department of Energy campaign has already signed up 1,800 buildings representing 49 million square feet with data analytics tools that could reduce their energy footprint by 8 percent, on average.

Transportation: The Administration is announcing more than $15 million in new grants and planned funding to evolve urban Smart Transportation, including National Science Foundation funding for researchers in Chattanooga to test, for the first time, how an entire urban network of connected and autonomous vehicles can automatically cooperate to improve travel efficiency and operate safely during severe weather events.

Public Safety: The Administration is announcing more than $10 million in new grants and planned funding for public safety, resilience, and disaster response. The Department of Homeland Security is funding the development of low-cost flood sensor-based tools in flood-prone areas of Texas, where predictive analytics will give first responders and local officials new capability to issue alerts and warnings, and the ability to respond more rapidly to save lives when a flood strikes.

The Smart Cities Initiative is informed by and builds on the work of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), including its Technology and the Future of Cities report. In the report, PCAST identified several actions that the Federal Government can take to help cities leverage technology, and which the initiative is already beginning to implement. Smart City Challenge is one of the key projects supported by the Initiative. The Department of Transportation selected Columbus, Ohio to receive $40 million to prototype the future of Smart Urban Transportation, out of 78 cities that accepted its Smart City Challenge.

The city’s plan, which will also leverage over $100 million in private resources, involves piloting new technologies, from connected vehicle technology that improves traffic flow and safety to data-driven efforts to improve public transportation access and health care outcomes to electric self-driving shuttles that will create new transportation options for underserved neighborhoods.

The new money also includes new grants and investments for Smart City infrastructure and innovation projects. One such will be a flood-warning pilot project in several Maryland cities that will integrate sensor data and social media posts to provide advance notice of flash floods. Others include: $33 million in new awards under the Smart & Connected Communities program to expand research and build on a number of high-risk, high-reward Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research toward enhancing understanding and design of future cities and communities; $10 million to develop and scale next-generation Internet applications and technologies through the US Ignite program, supporting access to gigabit-enabled networks; $7 million in new Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity projects that involve academic-industry collaborations to translate breakthrough discoveries into emerging technologies related to smart communities, ranging from smart buildings to sensor networks that improve transportation efficiency; $4 million in new Cyber-Physical Systems  for smart cities and the IoT, enabling connection of physical devices at scale to the digital; $2 million in new “Spokes” that extend the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs and $1.4 million in new Big Data research; $1.5 million in Smart and Connected Health research; $1 million for researchers to participate in the 2016 NIST Global City Teams Challenge; and $1 million in research and capacity-building awards supporting lifelong learning.

Across the Atlantic, in Finland, the country’s second-biggest city region, Tampere, is launching a new period of heavy IoT development and investment, to the tune of 6 to 10 billion Euros by 2030, with the goal of establishing a fully-integrated and internationally attractive Smart City. The process is also designed to increase quality of life for citizens and give the companies taking part in the new development ecosystem an advantage when building better products for international markets.

Tampere has several projects in motion to target innovation, new business models and enhancing communities. They include better digital solutions for companies, city organizations and daily lives of the citizens. Meanwhile the city is supporting open data for anyone to use, including traffic data, location data, tourism information, city budget and procurement information. The city plans to act as a testing ground and partnership broker for companies while using procurement to enable new solutions through city planning. At the same time, the release said it will develop more community driven, experimental and sustainable strategies using Smart City tech.

“All this will make Tampere even more attractive to international companies than it is now,” said Teppo Rantanen, Executive Director of economic policy, competitiveness and innovation, City of Tampere. “Tampere has a strong history in cooperation between different organizations and companies and now we have a dynamic process that enhances active cooperation even more.”

Some examples of Tampere’s city development include:

Central Deck and Arena, an urban scale development on top of existing railway tracks in the heart of the city that will hold a multi-purpose arena with capacity of 11,000 people, office blocks topped by residential towers, a hotel and a casino. Construction starts in spring 2017.

Hiedanranta is an old pulp factory area that is being built into what the Finnish media called “Dubai of Finland.” The area will offer housing for up to 25,000 residents and jobs for between 12,000 and 14,000 people. Zoning will begin 2017.

As a new form of public transportation in Tampere, a light rail will offer a testing ground for smart mobility solutions, smart building and smart infrastructure solutions. The planners are one final decision away from starting the constructions by the end of 2016.

”Our plan is to open the big challenges of the city and develop innovative solutions to them together with companies,” said Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of the City of Tampere.

Trend: Private equity expenditures
Smart City: 22 Capital Partners Selects FedBid as Technology Partner

22 Capital Partners, a venture builder and private equity company, recently has selected FedBid, an online reverse auction marketplace, as a technology partner for its 22 CityLink platform, which helps 22 Capital Partners develop an ecosystem to build smart cities through technology, education and innovation. One of 22 CityLink’s first real estate projects is in the Washington D.C. Gramercy District. It will be the first ground-up smart city in the D.C. area. It is located in Loudoun County on 16.8 acres of prime real estate at the terminus of the Silver Line Ashburn Station metro. The goal outlined for this smart city project is to create an innovation campus with the foundation technology and education partners. A key component of the 22 CityLink smart city approach, the company said, is reducing total lifecycle costs and creating long-term value for citizens.

“By taking proven, industry-leading supply chain and procurement practices that drive efficiency in purchasing, while also reducing costs and applying them to modern development projects like Gramercy District, it is possible to dramatically increase the return on investment of any real estate development,” said Minh Le, managing partner, 22 Capital Partners. “We are creating a replicable process for effective and efficient procurement, not only in the construction phase, but throughout the development lifetime. 22 CityLink and FedBid are poised to provide this full lifecycle cost-optimization model, maximizing return on investment.”

FedBid’s platform is integrated with 22 CityLink’s overall procurement and supply chain management services, and will allow all qualified buyers and sellers in construction to participate in the development. FedBid joins Microsoft, Avaya, George Washington University, the Center for Innovative Technology and others as a 22 CityLink partner in its developing smart city technology platform. Once completed, this platform will be known as “The Future of Living.”

Trend: International cooperative efforts
From London to Australia, How Hypercat is Helping Global Cities Get Smarter

Hypercat, one of the powers behind London’s Smart City initiatives, is going Walkabout with an alliance of IoT industry players, international corporations and the Australian government, with the launch of Hypercat Australia as a technology standard to support the development of smart cities in that country.

At its heart, Hypercat is a UK-developed alliance and standard that enables free communication from any connected IoT sensor or device being used to monitor an environment. This broad collaboration was launched by the Hon. Angus Taylor MP, Australian Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, and Nick McInnes, British Consul General and Director General for Trade and Investment, at a special roundtable breakfast hosted by KPMG in Sydney.

“The Commonwealth is exploring relationships with different jurisdictions to build smart cities that improve our lives. Hypercat Australia is one such partnership which will allow a platform to facilitate cutting edge technology solutions to be applied to urban problems,” said Taylor. “This will be the focus of our recently announced Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. I congratulate Hypercat on recognizing the benefits for industry in sharing data – which can be measured not only in collaborative formal partnerships, but in strong economic rewards.”

Hypercat Australia is being established as an independent, not-for-profit organization and will be administered by the Knowledge Economy Institute led by Dr Mike Briers AO, Australia’s first Industry Professor of IoT at the University of Technology Sydney.

“The goal of Hypercat is to accelerate the global explosion of the Internet of Things – by enabling connected devices and data to work together to improve how cities work, and how people live,” said Justin Anderson, founder and director, Hypercat Alliance. “In just a few years, Hypercat has already been applied to multi-million dollar smart city projects including London and Bristol, attracted more than 1,000 industry members such as KPMG, Cisco, BT, Symantec, Flexeye and WSP, and gained support in 47 countries. We’re excited that Australia is coming on board as our first international alliance – and hope to use this as a launch pad for global expansion.”

Trend: Global R&D centers
Altair Semiconductor Opens IoT Innovation R&D Center in Finland

Altair Semiconductor, a provider of LTE chipsets, has opened a research and development (R&D) center in Oulu, Finland that will focus on the development of core LTE IoT technology, tapping into the resources of the northern city, which has a reputation for expertise and market leadership in wireless communication technologies. This new center is part of Altair’s strategy for technological innovation and builds on the precious establishment of a similar center in Taiwan, and is Altair’s first major European installation.

“Finland is the ideal location to begin Altair’s expansion into Europe, given the country’s significant IoT, connectivity and general innovation talent,” said Oded Melamed, CEO, Altair. “We see this move as strategic to growing our research and development capabilities.”

This is representative of a truly encouraging trend toward international innovation cooperatives designed to move the industry forward. Similar R&D centers have been established all over the globe by companies like GE, Intel, AT&T and many others. Such thinking is going to lead the IoT industry in a positive way that will make better, safer, more complete systems of solutions that will make the entire marketplace better. More trust, more innovation and more growth are better for all of us in the IoT, and we encourage every company developing solutions to join with allied companies in such an R&D center or start their own and invite partners to help out. 

Trend: Broad association advocacy
Smart Cities Council Launches IoT Tech Challenge Grants for American Communities

The Smart Cities Council, the world’s largest smart cities network, has created a Smart Cities Council Readiness Challenge Grant, open to American cities. Five winning cities will receive a grant in 2017 designed to inspire innovation, inclusion and investment in their environments. The grant program’s goal is to help cities apply smart technologies as part of the current White House commitment to accelerate the development of smart cities in the U.S.

“Our members and advisors are the world's leading smart city practitioners,” said Jesse Berst, Chairman, Smart Cities Council. “We are bringing those experts together to help these cities craft action plans that are innovative, inclusive and ‘investment-grade.’ And then we are donating products and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to jump-start their efforts.”

The Readiness Challenge Grant program provides a significant contribution of professional services; access to best practices from some of the world’s top smart city practitioners; access to the expertise of leading smart cities technology providers in a vendor-neutral setting; the opportunity to learn from peer cities; and international visibility on the Council’s website and newsletter. Winning cities will receive a one-day Readiness Workshop at which city leaders will learn from Smart Cities Council experts, members and advisors while building or enhancing smart city roadmaps for each community.

In addition, the grantees will receive products and services from Council member companies, including: Smart Lighting consultations from Ameresco; IoT Starter Kits from AT&T; follow-up workshops on Smart City ecosystems from CH2M and Qualcomm; free training, software, and access to Computing Technology Industry Association educational materials; building design optimization advice from Dow Building and Construction; a progress assessment from IDC, based on its Smart City Maturity Benchmark; free city wide hosted communications network from Sensus; free access to Telit IoT Platform; TM Forum will help cities assess progress through its Smart City Maturity and Benchmark Model; and up to three days of technical assistance to investigate new and more efficient urban mobility options thanks to Transdev.

In this weekly series, we’ll be previewing chapters for you to read in the hopes that you’ll like enough to read the whole thing. To do just that, for free, click here. Alternatively, there’s a paperback version available on Amazon for $14.99.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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