White House recognizes IoT with Smart America Challenge

Posted on 11th November 2013 in government, Internet of Things, M2M

I’ve been critical of the Obama Administration in the past (except for the FTC, which is increasingly active in the field) for ignoring the Internet of Things.

Now there’s news that things are changing — slightly.

The White House has announced the SmartAmerica Challenge to build several IoT “test beds” by next April. It will hold a workshop Dec. 12th to kick off the project.

The goal:

“The SmartAmerica Project is bringing together organizations with cyber-physical systems (CPS) technology, programs and test beds to demonstrate the potential to improve safety, sustainability, efficiency, mobility, and overall quality of life. The purpose is to elevate awareness of the exciting opportunities possible through CPS and demonstrate what can be done today with cutting edge communication technology.”

The White House asks groups that want to be considered for the program to send one-page descriptions of their r & d “and include possible scenarios for the proposed interconnected set of disparate test beds and identify the potential benefits …. Actual test beds will help demonstrate the benefits and practical operational requirements of these interconnected disparate systems on a smaller scale and in real time – creating valuable experience and protocols for full-scale operation of such systems” (we may be dealing with cutting-edge tech here, but it’s reassuring that the program can still be described in Washington-speak …).

Evaluation criteria include: “Successfully interconnecting different test beds requires a high confidence network, seamless connectivity on many levels, robust security in any communication mode, and the use of open easy-to-use data architecture.”

“‘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 [White House Innovation] 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 [EE Times] in an email exchange.”

Oh, and they’re doing it on the cheap: the White House won’t provide any funding for the program.

Contrast that to China, which spends billions on IoT projects.

Oh well: it’s a (modest) start.


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