SAN JOSE, Calif. — Uncle Sam wants a few good engineers -- and folks from all walks of life -- interested in showing what an Internet of Things can do.
The White House issued a Smart America Challenge aiming to get commitments to build several IoT testbeds around the country by April 2014. The networks would aim to show what so-called cyber-physical systems can do "to improve safety, sustainability, efficiency, mobility, and overall quality of life," according to the project's website.
The government is not providing or promising any funding for the effort. The initiative is one of a handful of projects run under the White House's Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which aims to accelerate technology use and development.
A November 5 webinar will explain details of the challenge. People interested in proposing projects are invited to attend a December 12 workshop in Washington.
"Our goal is to come out at the end of the day with two or more, but less than five, real substantial scenarios and commitments from the participants to build them," says Geoff Mulligan, an IoT veteran and one of two fellows working on the project.
"We want companies and researchers to roll up their sleeves, look at the various pieces of technology, and see what we can build out of it -- like a stone soup," Mulligan told us in an email exchange.
Building and running small-scale test beds will provide "valuable experience and protocols for full-scale operation of such systems," according to the website.
The project is organized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Earlier this year, NIST gathered a consortium of companies around an initiative to identify missing standards in the space.