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The Smartest Place to Innovate and Grow IoT Solutions of the Future: Florida Atlantic University

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At this week’s ITEXPO conference and exhibition, the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University unveiled the launch of The Smartest Place. This initiative, in partnering with Florida Atlantic University’s Institute for Sensing and Embedded Networks Systems Engineering, will create a physical place for emerging IoT technologies to blend with real-time infrastructure, test new technologies, and locate deployment teams addressing common objectives.

This “I-SENSE” initiative at the center of South Florida (the ninth largest metro area in the U.S.) is also supported by a multi-million dollar, multi-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) grant to Florida Atlantic University, along with four other collaborating universities and colleges.

The mission? To create a rich ecosystem of streetscape applications built upon real-time, hyper-local intelligence to advance livable, safe, and inclusive communities.

The Research Park at FAU will become a natural home and living test bed for the next generation of real-world smart infrastructure. How? By creating a place for emerging IoT technologies to blend with real-world infrastructure (offering flexible office space to become not only a place to trial technologies, but a place for companies to locate engineering and deployment teams in collaboration with their peers to address the needs and objectives of the NSF grant).

“We are excited to launch The Smartest Place initiative,” said Andrew Duffell, President of the Research Park at FAU. “We’re determined to bring the right partners to the Research Park at FAU and will be providing common shared office and laboratory space which will be set aside for participating smart infrastructure and IoT technology companies to use on a part-time or full-time basis. In addition, we will aide in the deployment and trial use partners’ solutions and technology.”

A primary benefit of locating in the Research Park at FAU is the ability to collaborate with FAU’s research faculty and student body. The Smartest Place partners will have the opportunity to work with I-SENSE faculty and equipment, as well as commercial real-world spaces to deploy and study the outcomes of the technology. 

“The Research Park at FAU has been a critical partner for I-SENSE since the institute’s inception in 2015. Today, we could not be more excited to see this partnership strengthened even further. The Smartest Place initiative reflects an incredible opportunity to deliver new tools and services to Research Park at FAU tenants, while fostering the future of public space, public interest technologies through the new NSF ERC for Smart Streetscapes (CS3). Access to this proving ground is an absolute game-changer,” stated Jason Hallstrom, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director of I-SENSE (currently on IPA assignment).

FAU’s College of Engineering is among the top three fastest-improving engineering colleges in the United States, sitting in the increasingly important South Florida marketplace. South Florida is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, rich in diversity and with a technology-aware population in close proximity to the Latin America markets.

“The IoT M2M Council is the largest community of qualified IoT adopters, and we constantly measure the pulse of our 25,000 rank-and-file members. Our data shows that the biggest hurdle the industry faces is getting IoT projects from proof-of-concept to larger scale, so the IoT sector needs more initiatives like The Smartest Place at Research Park at Florida Atlantic University®,” says IMC Executive Director Keith Kreisher. “We look forward to cooperating with industry participants of the Research Park at FAU initiative by providing access to IMC’s digital media channels and events in order to share The Smartest Place research, use cases, and success stories.”

“The team from IoT Evolution Expo has been dedicated to fostering and growing the IoT ecosystem and South Florida markets for many years. As the organizers of IoT Evolution, the industry’s longest continuously running annual trade show and educational event focused on IoT held each year in Fort Lauderdale, we are pleased to host the Research Park at FAU today as they make the announcement from our keynote stage,” said Carl Ford, co-founder of IoT Evolution and conference co-chair. “As a trusted partner in the IoT ecosystem, IoT Evolution is delighted to collaborate with the Research Park at FAU as it creates a South Florida destination for IoT innovators.”   

The NSF has a long tradition of partnering with colleges and universities to support development and testing of new technologies in the smart community space.

“Communities in the United States and around the world are entering a new era of transformation in which residents and their surrounding environments are increasingly connected through rapidly-changing intelligent technologies,” the NSF explained on their website. And while digital transformation offers great promise for improved wellbeing and prosperity, it can also pose significant challenges at the complex intersection of technology and society.

“The goal of the NSF Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) program solicitation is to accelerate the creation of the scientific and engineering foundations that will enable smart and connected communities to bring about new levels of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, accessibility and inclusivity, and overall quality of life,” the agency also said, going on to define a “smart and connected community” as one that “synergistically integrates intelligent technologies with the natural and built environments, including infrastructure, to improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of those who live, work, learn, or travel within it.”

Interested IoT or smart infrastructure companies should contact Ryan Lilly at [email protected] or by telephone at +1 561-416-6092 Ext. 1401.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Alex Passett
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