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Editorial

Commentary: Invest in smart technology for a smarter city

At Lane Tech High School over the past year, more than 150 students accessed real-time data from some 500 sensors in order to learn about problem solving, design, measurement, data analysis, the scientific process and teamwork. Thanks to the “Array of Things” — a partnership of private-sector leaders, the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory — there is great hope that this program will continue at Lane Tech and even expand throughout Chicago.

Let’s consider what would happen if that expansion were sped up. What if tomorrow Chicago’s approximately 500,000 students all had access to such a program? What if there were a million or more sensors involved in collecting data that could be used to address a wide array of civic challenges? How could children on the West Side conduct experiments with sensors from schools on the lakefront through a connected network? Where would data be stored, secured and shared so that residents anywhere in the city could participate in creating solutions? What kinds of dashboards could be created to share the findings?

The Quantified City: A Closer Look at Chicago's Array of Things

Source: Brittnay Micek, Carto

Chicago, is the latest city to crack the syntax of smart cities and hack the Internet of Things. Instead of focusing on data to quantify individual productivity and activity, the city has partnered with researchers to analyze sensor-collected data to measure the City by the Lake’s “fitness.”

Dubbed the Array of Things (AoT), a network of interactive, modular sensors, is collecting new streams of data on environment, infrastructure, and activity. This hyper-local, open data can help researchers, city officials, and software developers study and address critical city challenges, such as flood prevention, traffic safety, air quality, and availability to civic services.

How Chicago Got Smart About Sensors

Source: Susan Crawford, Medium Backchannel

The Array of Things will be the central nervous system of cities. Without invading your privacy.

This month, the Array of Things moved several giant steps closer to becoming a crucial general-purpose, worldwide sensor data infrastructure for researchers and policymakers. New money from the National Science Foundation is coming in, new collaborators from around the world are learning about it, and 50 devices will be installed on the streets of Chicago in early 2016, with hundreds more to be added in the years to come. Most importantly, the leaders of the initiative (the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago’s Urban Center for Computation and Data) are committed to openness and public consultation — which means the Array of Things initiative will continue to thrive.

‘Internet of Everything’ lights the way in Chicago

Source: Brenna Berman and Wim Elfrink, Chicago Sun Times Editorial

The phrase “dumb as a lamppost” is going to fall out of favor soon, at least if the City of Chicago has anything to say about it.

The city has several new initiatives underway to upgrade lighting infrastructure. It’s powered by the next phase of the Internet, which goes beyond connecting computers to connecting people, data, process and all manner of things.

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