‘Internet of Things’ think tank forms in LA

A consortium recently formed by the USC Marshall School of Business and USC Viterbi School of Engineering is in the works of transforming the city of Los Angeles to generate an Internet of Things system that allows companies and residents to generate community-managed data marketplaces.

The consortium is a collaboration between Verizon, Traction Labs, the city of Los Angeles, the Marshall School of Business, the Viterbi School of Engineering and various other companies. Photo courtesy of Amy Blumenthal.

This Intelligent Internet of Things Integrator consortium includes Verizon, Traction Labs, the city of Los Angeles and various other tech companies.

“This particular collaboration … started out as days of discussion with colleagues and Viterbi and Marshall trying to understand why smart cities aren’t happening as quickly as we might imagine,” said USC Viterbi professor Bhaskar Krishnamachari, one of the co-founders of I3. “We’ve been hearing about smart cities for some time and IoT technologies are starting to mature … with some of the platforms companies have.”

To expand these smart cities, community-based IoT networks constructed by the I3 consortium will be generating “powerful data ‘rivers,’” which condense data from IoT device owners into one common stream, the press release stated.

According to Krishnamachari, building these networks entailed collaboration among people from engineering fields, market design and government agencies.

“The way cities are going to become smart is not from one single vendor figuring out how to develop a smart city solution and selling that to a particular city,” Krishnamachari said. “It’s going to happen when there’s a whole ecosystem of business partners, government agencies and academics working together … and having their products and services interconnect with each other very easily.”

According to the press release, these IoT networks have several applications, including improvements in decision-making and customer service. I3 also has plans to create an environment for application developers, device manufacturers and data service providers to test apps that have the possibility of improving the quality of life for residents.

USC Marshall assistant professor Jerry Power said that in the next several months the consortium plans to maximize participation in the contribution to the development of smart cities, as well as test more IoT projects on the University campus.

“What we’re doing is very unique and different in the way we are approaching and thinking of IoT,” Power said. “In some ways, we think about what we’re looking at IoT is sort of a future way of maybe trying to condition the way data is connected in a community and the way they use it.”