Welcome to the future: IoT and smart cities

If you were following last fall’s user survey, you may have noticed that a growing number of OpenStack users and developers were beginning to investigate the Internet of Things (IoT).  That, of course, makes perfect sense; IoT devices are a perfect fit for cloud computing, and it’s likely that OpenStack is where a great many of them will run — or at least where they’ll send calls back to. This week AT&T announced an initiative to begin trying to build smarter cities using IoT and the help of several additional companies, including Intel, IBM, Cisco, and Ericsson.

According to NetworkWorld, “Atlanta is looking to improve sustainability and public safety, Chicago to maximize energy efficiency and Dallas to enhance operations in its West End Historic District.”

So what’s planned?  At first, the companies will focus on the types of functionality you’d expect, such as “smart utility meters, water leak detection and industrial lighting,” according to the Dallas Business Journal.  You can expect things to move more into the realm of science fiction fairly quickly, however, we expect.  Dallas Business Journal goes on: “For example, AT&T has been working with a company in California that works with gunshot detection. Sensors are placed across a city and if a gunshot goes off, the application can identify the location and the caliber of weapon that was fired and route that back to law enforcement before they arrive on the scene.”

I’m not sure whether that’s cool or a little bit scary.

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