Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Silver Spring, ComEd outline smart city vision for Chicago

Iain Morris
June 3, 2014
Smart grid specialist Silver Spring Networks and utility ComEd have set out a vision of transforming Chicago into a “smart city” that will be greener and more energy efficient besides delivering a range of improved services to residents.

The two organizations are collaborating on the smart grid element of ComEd’s (Chicago, IL, USA) ten-year, $2.6 billion plan to improve the Illinois electrical system, under which Silver Spring’s (Redwood City, CA, USA) technology will be used to connect some four million homes and businesses.

Silver Spring says this could provide the foundation for a range of smart-city services designed to address challenges such as environmental sustainability, health and safety, traffic and transportation management and economic growth.

The company outlined its vision while announcing the opening of a new Chicago facility that will house a smart city and smart energy technology demonstration facility.

Silver Spring said the new facility would be an innovation hub to serve Chicago and a resource for Silver Spring’s global customer base.

“ComEd and Mayor Emanuel have been pioneers in leveraging advanced technology to modernize Chicago’s energy infrastructure,” said Scott Lang, the chairman, president and chief executive of Silver Spring. “It’s thrilling to see their leadership continue with a compelling technology vision not only underpinning a more reliable energy network, but also a smart city network that unlocks enormous potential for the city of Chicago and its citizens.”

According to Lang, the need for smart city services is growing as urban areas come under increasing pressure regarding budgets and resources.
Silver Spring’s aim is to deploy open, IP-based wireless services that will connect assets such as energy infrastructure, street lighting, traffic control systems, electric vehicle chargers, environmental sensors and more.

“Cities [will be] empowered to lower their environmental footprint, deliver innovative new services to citizens, attract more business investment, cultivate twenty-first century talent, and be more economically competitive on a global stage,” said Lang.

In the energy area alone, smart city services could allow Chicago to dramatically improve its energy efficiency and reduce consumption through smart light and other smart energy solutions.

Electric vehicle charging network and connected sensors could also help citizens to reduce their energy consumption.

Silver Spring says its technology is already being used to support smart city projects in Copenhagen (Denmark), Dongguan (China), Dublin (Republic of Ireland), Foshan (China), Miami (USA), Oslo (Norway) and Paris (France).
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