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Global City Teams Challenge Expo Showcases Smart Cities' Growth, Internet of Things

Standards Pave the Way for Development of Smart Cities


The National Institute of Standards Technology (NIST) and U.S. Ignite, an independent nonprofit organization fostering the development of next-generation applications using new technologies, recently hosted the Global City Teams Challenge Expo, an international showcase of collaborative networks working on innovative applications of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within smart city/smart community environments.

The June 1 event highlighted efforts of the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), a collaboration of over 60 teams from 51 cities around the world consisting of city planners and technology innovators. GCTC was launched to encourage the collaboration and development of standards. According to NIST, the Global City Team Challenge’s long-term goal is to “demonstrate a scalable and replicable model for incubating and deploying interoperable, adaptable, and configurable IoT/cyberphysical systems (CPS) technologies in smart cities/communities.” As part of this effort, NIST and U.S. Ignite are collaborating with the Department of Transportation (DoT), National Science Foundation (NSF), International Trade Administration (ITA), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Department of Energy (DoE) to advance practical applications of cyberphysical systems.

Expo exhibits included a panel managing urban air equality, and a session on autonomy-enabled shared vehicles for mobility on demand and urban logistics. The expo, held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., also featured international projects and various technological advancements for the improvement of cities within the United States. NIST reports that Chicago will soon have a Fitbit-like 500-node sensor network to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and improve traffic flow—just one example of leveraging technologies for more sustainable cities.

Speakers included U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Tom Kalil (left), Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), of the Executive Office of the President, and Dr. Willie E. May (top right), who was recently confirmed as NIST director. Attendees included Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is proactive in the development of the utilization of technology as a means to improve efficiency and sustainability of urban life.

In a recent NIST blog post, Dr. May reflected on the event, noting that according to expert forecasts, the market for connected devices could total between 9 and 19 trillion dollars by 2023, which would surpass the smart phone, PC, and tablet markets combined. “To make that happen, we will need standards that make sure technologies can interact reliably and safely while protecting privacy and security. This is where NIST comes in,” Dr. May wrote. “Our mission is to advance innovation through measurements, standards and technology. A key way we do that is by convening experts and stakeholders, in the U.S. and internationally, in emerging technology areas.”

The American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Network on Smart and Sustainable Cities (ANSSC) is dedicated to fostering resources for standards participation. ANSCC is a forum for information sharing and coordination on voluntary standards, conformity assessment, and related activities for smart and sustainable cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Launched in 2014, the ANSSC serves as a one-stop shop where city authorities and others knowledgeable in urban infrastructure planning and sustainable development – who may have limited resources for active standards participation – can engage with ANSI, learn about work taking place in the formal standards process, and articulate their issues and needs. Visit for more information and to get involved.

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