International IoT Platform May Fulfill Smart City Vision
Joan Thompson posted on October 13, 2016 |

The European Union is determined to cut greenhouse gases by making cities smarter and more energy efficient. That is why it funded the GrowSmarter program, in which the main objective is to demonstrate integrated smart solutions in three major European cities.

By showcasing various Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, these cities will help other urban centers around the world learn how to move forward with their aspirations for smart design.
Enhancing connectivity among sensors and devices in cities can improve energy efficiency by better incorporating renewable energy sources directly into the local electrical grid. (Image courtesy of Silver Spring.)

Enhancing connectivity among sensors and devices in cities can improve energy efficiency by better incorporating renewable energy sources directly into the local electrical grid. (Image courtesy of Silver Spring.)

As part of this program, networking technology company Silver Spring has recently debuted its international IoT platform Starfish in Stockholm. The platform is an IPv6 network service that aims to provide wireless connections between devices and sensors that will provide data to surrounding infrastructure, traffic, climate, energy and water.

With the technical specifications that Starfish offers, Silver Spring believes the deployment of this platform will help provide the interoperability between users that will enhance smart systems within cities.


The Three S’s of Starfish

Silver Spring outlines three key technical specifications that Starfish offers that make it unique.

Standards: Ironically, the enormous growth of IoT products can introduce more barriers to connectivity and data integration. Companies sometimes release smart products that are innovative in their design, but lack the ability to connect to other sensors and devices that a customer may have—stemming their potential.

The networking capabilities of Starfish use a combination of carrier technologies, including IEEE 802.15.4g wireless meshing technology, which is supported by the Wi-SUN Alliance. Starfish was created in accordance with this open-source standard structure in order to ensure open technology access with current devices, while still performing as well as private IoT platforms.

Security: Whether the use is industry operations or commercial and business data, or you are just pulling out your smartphone to detect your location while going for a stroll, IoT security threats are everywhere. To mitigate risk, Starfish utilizes AES-256 encryptions and PKI infrastructure with single-device keys. Silver Spring assures that it applies security measures to every device that is connected to a network—not just the most critical ones—to ensure a cyber-attack is limited to one device alone.

Scalability: With the meshing capabilities of IEEE 802.15.4g technology, Silver Spring claims that the power capacity of Starfish will grow as more devices are connected to it, delivering networking capabilities that can be hundreds, or even thousands, of times greater than alternative IoT platforms. If this is the case, it could mean enormous savings for building and operating network infrastructure.

Starfish competes with current smart solutions by delivering up to 2.4 Mbps in speed, 10-millisecond latency, up to 50 miles in point-to-point range, nearly limitless mesh range and multiple network transports.

A comparison of the technical specifications of Starfish with other IoT platforms. (Image courtesy of Silver Spring.)
A comparison of the technical specifications of Starfish with other IoT platforms. (Image courtesy of Silver Spring.)


The European Program That Is Thinking Big

Silver Spring hopes to go beyond Stockholm and test its innovation in other smart cities, but for now, Starfish is being deployed to aid with upgrading older lighting infrastructure with intelligent street light controls.

GrowSmarter has an overall aim to reduce greenhouse gases by 60 percent and create an estimated 1,500 jobs. Currently this involves building for three “lighthouse” cities—Stockholm; Cologne, Germany; and Barcelona, Spain—where each of their smart-solution strategies will be showcased in a number of study visits and workshops. GrowSmarter intends to expand its projects to five additional “follower” cities.

These visits and workshops will be free to attend so that onlookers can see these technologies first hand. To learn more about the technical specifications of Starfish, visit its website.

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