A recent white paper by Machina Research and InterDigital has found that open standards in smart city IoT deployments would accelerate growth by 27%, and reduce deployment costs by 30%. Given the scale of both budgets and timelines for smart cities projects, these figures represent considerable dollars and time. As Wifi360 noted in their review of the white paper, cities stand to benefit in numerous specific ways, including:

Standards allow data to be shared between departments and systems which may have developed in isolation from each other.

Standards allow software and tools that have been developed in other cities to be used without the need for redevelopment.

Standards allow cities to use their data in conjunction with off-the-shelf components, including those developed for other kinds of organizations.

At SensorUp, we’ve been advocating standards from the beginning (see, for example, here, and here). Our founder, Dr. Steve Liang, has been involved in IoT for over a decade, so he has seen first-hand the importance of standards. He has worked on OGC SWE during that time. In an effort to make the standards easier to use and more widely adopted, he was elected to develop the OGC SensorThings API. SensorThings API is purpose-built for IoT, handling the low power, low bandwidth, and low connectivity situations encountered in IoT with grace, while also being developer-friendly. It’s REST-based and uses JSON encoding, so it’s accessible, and easy to get started using.

To take the goal of widespread use of standards one step further, Dr. Liang founded SensorUp to develop the world’s first implementation of SensorThings: the SensorUp SensorThings API. The company has since created a full, operational, ready-to-use implementation. It is the compliant with the standard, and, since Dr. Liang and his team know the standard they authored so well, it is the most comprehensive implementation.

Citizen Sensing Map -- Dust Levels 2

Having created the standard, and the world’s first implementation of it, SensorUp then progressed to a Smart Cities pilot. The pilot makes it even easier for municipalities to try out SensorUp’s SensorThings API as an IoT platform. Cities don’t have to start with masses of sensors. They can start with a simple citizen sensing project, in which citizens, classrooms, libraries, etc. can adopt a sensor. Each of the sensors spread throughout the municipality then feeds into SensorUp’s SensorThings API. From there, the measurements can be displayed in a single dashboard with a map view of the locations and readings, and time-series visualizations (charts) tracking how the measured value has changed over time. Currently, we’re using air quality sensors as the citizen sensors. But, the beauty of the pilot, and the SensorUp SensorThings API, is that, as new hardware and measuring needs emerge, new devices can be included in the same system. That way, city-wide phenomena can be understood as a system, making sustainable decision-making easier.

Join SensorUp on the road to standards-based Smart Cities! We’d love to introduce you to our SensorThings API Platform, and the Smart Cities Pilot that makes it easy to get started. Contact us to get a full demo and get started!

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