Venkatasubramanian presents SmartAmerica project at White House
Nalini Venkatasubramanian

June 11, 2014

Computer science professor Nalini Venkatasubramanian is representing UC Irvine and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the SmartAmerica Expo in Washington, D.C. today. An initiative of the White House and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the SmartAmerica Challenge asked scholars to submit innovative ideas for cyber-physical systems (CPS) and the Internet of Things (IoT), and show how these systems can create jobs, new business opportunities and socio-economic benefits for the United States.

Yesterday, the White House hosted an event with select SmartAmerica Challenge teams from across the country. At the event, Venkatasubramanian spoke about her team's project and the value of the Internet of Things. Today, all 24 teams, with members from more than 100 organizations, are coming together at the Washington, D.C. convention center to see demonstrations and hear speakers from the White House, government agencies, private industry and U.S. universities.

Venkatasubramanian is attending the expo as a member of the team that developed SCALE: Safe Community Alert Network (a.k.a. Public Safety for Smart Communities). Comprising representatives from UCI, MIT, IBM, Twilio, SigFox, Schneider Electric, Montgomery County (Md.), and the Department of Homeland Security, the SCALE network will use low-cost sensor networks to provide communication, emergency response and other functions to the general public. The team will be setting up a demonstration site at a housing development in Montgomery County using sensors and analysis tools developed at UCI.

The team has developed CPS platforms that are scalable, flexible, inexpensive and easy to deploy/manage at a community wide scale and design mechanisms for creating resilient and actionable situational awareness for the safety of the public. This will help in overcoming a particularly troubling aspect of the “digital divide”: such technologies are often only available to those with the ability to afford it and the expertise to set up and manage them.

Using SCALE’s advanced sensing, communication and actuation technology, an elderly, homebound resident would no longer need to fear a fall. Families would no longer fall victim to a smoke detector with a dead battery.

“The SCALE project enables a new, open ecosystem for cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things, which allows academic, industry and government partners to work together to creating innovative new technologies for the benefit of all,” Venkatasubramanian says.

— Story by Ted B. Kissell
— Photo by Robert Farmer