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SmartAmerica Challenge: Harnessing the Power of the Internet of Things

Summary: 
Today the Internet mostly connects people to information. But what kinds of new products and services might be possible if it also connected people and public service agencies to vehicles, medical devices, climate sensors, traffic monitors, water systems, lighting, and more?

Today the Internet mostly connects people to information. But what kinds of new products and services might be possible if it also connected people and public service agencies to vehicles, medical devices, climate sensors, traffic monitors, water systems, lighting, and more?

To help answer that question, Geoff Mulligan and Sokwoo Rhee, two energetic Presidential Innovation Fellows at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), launched the SmartAmerica Challenge in December 2013.  The goal of the challenge was to engage the public and private sectors to explore the tangible benefits of the Internet of Things.   With more than 24 teams comprised of more than 100 companies and other organizations, the Smart America Challenge participants have created projects that demonstrate the economic and societal benefits of the internet of things.

Today the White House hosted an event with SmartAmerica Challenge teams from across the country.  At the event, select teams demonstrated their projects and the value of the Internet of Things. As Assistant to the President for Science and Technology John Holdren noted at the event, the federal government has invested nearly $300 million in research related to the Internet of Things over past five years.  The Internet of Things holds tremendous potential to create jobs and grow new businesses. 

Tomorrow, our colleagues at NIST will host the SmartAmerica Expo at the Washington DC Convention Center.  The Expo will feature keynote remarks by senior government leaders including U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and General Services Administrator Dan Tangherlini, as well as live demonstrations by 24 SmartAmerica technical teams.  The projects will showcase ways that the Internet of Things can improve transportation, emergency services, health care, security, energy conservation, and manufacturing.

To learn more and to register to attend the SmartAmerica Expo, click here.

Richard Voyles is Assistant Director, Robotics and Cyber-Physical Systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy