Sigfox, a company focused on energy-efficient Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, has announced that it is participating in a Montgomery County, M.D., project to install automated safety-alert networks to protect vulnerable residents.
The Safe Community Alert Network (SCALE) is part of the SmartAmerica Challenge, sponsored by the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows and the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST). The challenge is designed to demonstrate how the IoT and smart technologies can benefit large segments of the population.
“The point of SmartAmerica is not technology for technology’s sake, but how it touches the lives and the beneficiaries,” said Geoff Mulligan, a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow. “In a lot of cases, we talked about creating jobs, but what was really important also is about how it might save lives. SCALE talks specifically about saving lives.”
Working with the Montgomery Housing Partnership, an affordable housing developer in Montgomery County, SCALE deployed a variety of connected sensors in residents’ apartments that will detect different environmental distress factors. These include smoke, heat, light, carbon monoxide, humidity, power, acoustics, and even if a resident falls. Using Sigfox’s network, these sensors are connected with FiberNet, the Montgomery County broadband network, without relying on private broadband services, to alert emergency response services in the case a resident is in danger.
“This is a good example of how Sigfox’s technology can help bring the benefits of the Internet of Things to a wide range of people, even those who don’t have broadband services,” said Luke D’Arcy, Sigfox Director of U.S. Operations. “Too many fatal fires are caused by faulty smoke detectors. The Sigfox network allows the fire department to cost effectively monitor the performance of these devices ensuring that residents are protected.”
Besides Sigfox and Montgomery Housing Partnership, participants in the SCALE project are the University of California-Irvine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, IBM, Twilio, Schneider Electric, Montgomery County, M.D., and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.
Participating in SCALE marks another big step in Sigfox’s rapid globalisation, as network operators and other companies in major markets recognise the system’s cost-effective and energy-saving advantages to rapidly rolling out IoT networks.