The City of San Francisco and the "Internet of Things" / by FPM Team

  • 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 (streetlightssmoke detectorsparking 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 YorkBostonLos AngelesChicagoAustinHoustonAtlantaDallas and San Jose in the coming months

OUR TAKE

  • As the Internet expands beyond a mix of desktop/laptop computerssmartphones and tablets accessing webstreaming and other cloud based services, there will be many new types of applications (addressing agriculturehealthsecuritylogistics, etc.)  which will incorporate many new devices.
  • Connecting these new IoT devices (home appliancestransportation vehiclescomponents 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.