Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Boston University to develop smart city platform for Massachusetts

Iain Morris
September 30, 2014

Boston University has received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop a smart city platform aimed at supporting various municipal functions.

The project is intended to deliver improvements in areas including energy, transportation, public safety, asset management and social services within Boston and the wider Massachusetts area.

The funding has gone directly to Boston University’s Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, said the institution in a statement.

“Today’s cities are increasingly being challenged – to respond to diverse needs of their citizens, to prepare for major environmental changes, to improve urban quality of life, and to foster economic development,” said Azer Bestavros, director of the Hariri Institute. “So called ‘smart cities’ are closing these gaps through the use of technology to connect people with resources, to guide changes in collective behavior, and to foster innovation and economic growth.”

The project will seek to develop and implement smart-city services that can improve the quality of urban life.

Transportation and mobility services, for instance, could help to reduce traffic congestion, save time and fuel and reduce pollution, while new energy services could be used to monitor greenhouse gas emissions.

Boston University says that once the services have been developed they will be offered through the Massachusetts Open Cloud – a new public cloud service.

“The … project highlights the collaborative efforts between the state, industry and academia that help make Massachusetts the leading innovation state,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Through our Massachusetts Big Data Initiative, we’ve made open government a priority, opening data sets across multiple state agencies, improving access by researchers and the public.”

Boston University says it will contribute other research to the project, including its investigation into the use of sensor networking for traffic light control applications and environmental monitoring of carbon emissions in urban settings.
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