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St. Louis Pilots IoT Program to Reduce Risk, Improve Disaster Response

(Credit: teekay72, Flickr Creative Commons)

St. Louis, Missouri, is launching a pilot program that will test the use of technology in an effort to improve its response and reduce risk from major flooding, flash flooding and fire events, as well as to other public safety issues. Ideally, the pilot will prove that interoperability of technology used by varying city services and information sharing – via use of inexpensive web-connected sensors – can reduce risk.

The pilot will use the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Smart City Interoperability Reference Architecture (SCIRA) as its framework; SCIRA integrates commercial Internet of Things sensors across city services using shared technology standards.

The city expects that the pilot program, taking place at the downtown St. Louis technology innovation center (or T-REX), will improve its “smart city” operations and the way it responds to issues like flooding and water management. For example, with flood sensors, the city can measure flood waters and alert officials when necessary; sensors can also provide information to first responders about the best routes to take, reports Smart Cities Dive.

The pilot will produce a design toolkit that will “lower the barriers for other cities and enable them to take advantage of the available technologies in a cost- effective manner,” according to the Science and Technology Directorate.


The Case for Interoperability 


As cities increasingly turn to next generation or smart technologies to aid public safety roles, there is a need to ensure that all of these new technologies are interoperable among the city’s departments and with other jurisdictions. These new tech solutions also need to be applicable for jurisdictions of different sizes, so that rural cities can use the same technology as large, urban centers.

IoT technology such as SCIRA allows a city to apply existing technologies down to the community level, enhancing “the efficiency and effectiveness of all city services,” says St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The pilot will conclude in early December 2019.

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