White House to pump more than US$160m into IoT Smart Cities Initiative

15 Sep 2015

Obama speaking at an event on 11 September. Image via Whitehouse.gov/Facebook

Towards the twilight of his presidency, Barack Obama and the current US government plans on making serious strides in tech investment with the news that it is to put more than US$160m into an internet of things (IoT) Smart Cities Initiative.

The Smart Cities Initiative will spread the funding across 25 different collaborations that will use big data to help local communities tackle traffic congestion and crime, foster economic growth, manage the effects of a changing climate and improve the delivery of city services.

More than 20 US cities will be taking part in the Smart Cities Initiative, which will also bring in government departments to contribute research with a focus on building a research infrastructure for IoT technology.

One of the largest single investments will be the sum of US$35m from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which will offer grants, including US$10m for a new Cyber-Physical Systems Programme.

This will, among other concepts, support research into the integration of computing, networking, and physical systems, such as in self-driving cars and smart buildings.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also be leading a US$50m investment in developing emergency response technologies for smart cities, including partnering with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to leverage data, analytics, and predictive modelling to give responders the right information at the right time.

From research to open source

The latter organisation also has plans to open up nearly US$5m in funding to areas outside of the US through the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), which will take place across 30 global cities to develop IoT technology.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy (DOE) will invest US$10m to support the emergence of smart, energy-efficient and low-emission cities.

This will include more than $3m in proposed funding for smart building technologies that optimise operational performance, maximise energy savings, and participate in smart communications between buildings and the wider regional grid.

There will also be a collaboration with the public as the US Census Bureau announced the expansion of the open-source CitySDK project, making valuable data available to communities and civic innovators.

This, the White House said, will help incubate new apps that are based on open data, including smart cities apps with broad civic benefits.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic