The City of San Francisco and the "Internet of Things"
- Last week, the City of San Francisco announced a one-year pilot project with France-based SIGFOX to deploy a low-cost, low power Internet of Things (IoT) network. This environment should connect various devices (streetlights, smoke detectors, parking meters, etc.) to the Internet and allow them to communicate with each other.
- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, “Creating a network of this kind, the City will be able to attract new startup companies, strengthen existing businesses and provide more jobs, economic growth and continuing prosperity for our residents.”
- San Francisco chief information officer and executive director of the Department of Technology Miguel A. Gamiño Jr., said, “We’ve built a citywide network that’s intended for IoT applications, but it’s not driven by a specific use case. Our approach is to build the environment, a living, breathing, IoT-ready city that can then be taken advantage of by really great creative minds that are working in this area.”
- San Francisco’s chief innovation officer Jay Nath, said “The pilot is two-fold: One is for the city government to understand how this technology can be incorporated. Two, is this a great tool for entrepreneurs? Are they able to build new products and services? Those are the two things we'll be looking at.”
- Note: SIGFOX’s technology, which is extensively used in France and Spain, is expected to be deployed in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and San Jose in the coming months
- As the Internet expands beyond a mix of desktop/laptop computers, smartphones and tablets accessing web, streaming and other cloud based services, there will be many new types of applications (addressing agriculture, health, security, logistics, etc.) which will incorporate many new devices.
- Connecting these new IoT devices (home appliances, transportation vehicles, components on the energy grid, etc.) will likely raise concerns about privacy - the “Big Brother” effect, cost effective network management and data security.
- Bottom line – IoT innovation will likely be brisk and the biggest challenge may simply be keeping up with the pace of change.