SAN JOSE, Calif. — More than 100 organizations will demonstrate 24 Internet of Things projects at a June 11 summit in Washington, DC. The event is the culmination of a yearlong Smart America Challenge aimed to show the potential benefits of so-called cyber-physical systems.
"We asked people to do some significant work, and if they did, we said we would shine a national spotlight on it," said Geoff Mulligan, one of two organizers of the challenge announced in October.
So far, the effort has been credited with inspiring a startup at MIT and encouraging a French company to expand its operations (and hiring) in the US. Many of the two dozen projects are geared to be test cases for services that could be widely deployed.
"Our project was not about technology," Mulligan told us. "It was about beneficially impacting the economy and the lives of Americans."
For example, Intel and San Jose are setting up a sensor network to measure air quality, noise pollution, and traffic flow. The project aims to be a prototype for other cities. Two startups in Detroit are building a novel building lighting automation system that could generate $5 million in wages over five years.
Other projects address smart roads and cars, robotics, the smart grid, water systems, and manufacturing. The companies taking part include AT&T, Boeing, GE, IBM, National Instruments, Qualcomm, and Schneider Electric.
"We are trying to refocus attention on the benefits and impacts of IoT, instead of just tech for tech sake," said Sokwoo Rhee, another challenge organizer and founder of the pioneering IoT startup Millennial Networks.
The June event will showcase live demos of autonomous vehicles, robots, heads-up displays, medical gear, and drones. The Smart America Challenge was created by the Obama Administration through its Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which included Mulligan and Rhee.
Organizers hope to find an organization to nurture the effort with regional and market-specific Smart America events beyond the June gathering.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times