How San Leandro is using IoT to transform itself

San Leandro, a suburban city in California, plans to integrate a 10-gigabit fiber loop into public infrastructure and services, in a move to evolve the city from its industrial roots.

The fiber loop is capable of connecting thousands of Internet of Things (IoT) devices together, sending all the data back to servers where it can be analyzed.

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The city’s LED streetlights and controlled irrigation are already connected to the IoT system. The LED lights are expected to save $8 million in the next 15 years and will reduce San Leandro’s dependence on nonrenewable energy.

“Smart city and IoT technologies are important because they’re going to enable us to gather data about things we couldn’t know about in the past, which allows us to make better decisions,” said Debbie Acosta, the city’s chief information officer, to StateScoop.

San Leandro is planning two new projects using the IoT system, a distributed energy network and an infrastructure project to connect all the city’s services.

The energy network will connect the electric grid to hundreds of solar panels across the city. Connected devices assess how much energy is created and sorted in a building, and any excess can be redistributed to other buildings.

Big energy boosts

Excessive energy creation from solar panels has already caused the price of electricity to plummet in California. A way to distribute the energy more evenly could reduce the frequency of blackouts and potentially make San Leandro 100 percent renewable.

San Leandro’s longer term plan, dubbed the ‘fiber master plan’, aims to integrate all sorts of applications and services into the IoT system. The massive collection of data could provide all sorts of advantages to the city.

At the present time, the city is looking for guidance on how to design the fiber network, monetize it, and integrate IoT and wireless networks into it.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration provided the $2.1 million grant to get the fiber loop built and the California Energy Commission is sending $1.5 million to the energy network. If all goes well, the city might receive an $8 million grant in 2018 to continue building out the network.

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