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Innovation Enabled by the Internet of Things

Utilities and Local Governments are Building Smarter Cities

Although 66% of the world’s population is estimated to be in urban centers by 2050, cities occupy only 3% of total land surface. Those cities consume 76% of all energy generated and produce 75% of all carbon dioxide emissions. As populations increase and environmental concerns grow, cities and utilities are both looking to become smarter and greener by changing how they deliver critical services to citizens. 

To be truly smart, cities must connect systems and intelligent devices through an open, standards-based network. The network must allow various applications to utilize disparate sources of data to benefit citizens, businesses and the city itself. Smart cities leverage interconnected devices and data to gain insights that make cities more livable, workable and sustainable. The interoperability and interconnection of smart solutions is critical to this. When solutions are aware of each other and when data is combined, only then can cities truly open the door for new, innovative ways of solving the challenges they face.

An Invitation for Open Innovation

With the ability to seamlessly connect devices and sensors to an open, standards-based, wireless network, smart cities can truly thrive. As part of this, smart cities require access to an ecosystem of developers that are taking advantage of the open standards, nurturing their ability to innovate and creating new IoT applications.

Bringing this idea to life, Itron recently launched a Smart City Challenge in collaboration with the City of Glasgow and City of London Corporation. The challenge invites IoT solution providers to compete for the chance to work with these leading smart cities to deploy breakthrough solutions on the cities’ existing Itron smart city networks. Participants are invited to develop solutions to address challenges defined by the participating cities.

City of Glasgow: Glasgow city government leaders are challenging developers to create solutions to improve the travel choices and experience during events in the city while promoting the overall city center.

The City of Glasgow is one of the world’s top sporting cities and a major destination for conferences and concerts. Many thousands of people come to the city on a regular basis to experience its year-round calendar of events. However, this brings significant challenges in getting people safely and conveniently around the city to their location. It also impacts residents and particularly, the public transport system. In order to maintain its position as a top destination and attract even more visitors, Glasgow is seeking solutions to safely and efficiently manage the movements of large influxes of people in order to ensure that they have a positive experience. 

Glasgow is leveraging its existing open data platform, adaptive lighting and standards-based IPv6 network to encourage developers. The city currently uses the single network canopy for multiple applications to reduce energy costs, increase road safety and promote cycling to help drive health benefits.

City of London Corporation: Through the Smart City Challenge, executives with The City of London Corporation say that they would like to find new ways of further improving river safety through technology that leverages its existing smart city network. Entries of persons falling into the river are highly dangerous and are often deadly. The City Corporation provides safety equipment along the walkways near the River Thames, but theft and misuse of these devices are common. With 124 entries into the river within the City of London alone in 2014, it is vital to find new ways to improve safety through effective technology. The City of London Corporation is seeking solutions that accelerate emergency response times and protect citizens by ensuring the availability of safety equipment when it is needed.

 About the Challenge

Utilizing standards-based developer tools, technology providers are invited to integrate their solutions with Itron’s IoT platform to tackle Glasgow and London’s key business and societal challenges. Qualified participants will receive free hardware development kits and engineering support to accelerate the development of Wi-SUN-based solutions. By taking advantage of the Wi-SUN Field Area Network (FAN) technical specification, successful solutions will be interoperable with millions of devices worldwide, providing increased commercial opportunity for participants.

The winners of each challenge will get a chance to collaborate with leading cities to refine their solutions. And The winners of each challenge will be featured in a campaign that’s targeted at cities and utilities around the world.

The application period for these challenges is open now -- and it will close on Jan. 4, 2019. To learn more about the challenges, and to sign up for more information or to submit an application, visit

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