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Verizon joins USC to build smart city think tank

USC is investing heavily in future cities and the Internet of Things

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Elon Musk may be drilling tunnels beneath Los Angeles, but above ground the University of Southern California (USC) is building a think tank to imagine, potentially even construct, future technology for the smart cities of tomorrow.

The university is working with Verizon, the City of Los Angeles and various tech companies to develop applications that could be used for apps to support city firefighters to restaurant owners.

The group, the Intelligent Internet of Things Integrator (or I3), is focused on data driven through connected devices, commonly called the Internet of Things or IoT. And areas where they imagine their system working include restaurant. where owners could analyze foot traffic before signing a lease on a new spot, or emergency workers, with firefighters able to virtually see the infrastructure of a building before rushing in to fight a fire.

Other uses I3 sees for its proposed system could include helping with more efficient garbage collecting, street parking or even detecting leaks in city pipes.

Industries as wide-reaching as entertainment to sports are looking at how connected devices and apps, the cornerstones of IoT, could help boost their own markets.

Developed by the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Viterbi Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things (CCI), I3 held a gathering this week in Los Angeles. There founding members, including tracking software firm Kiana Analytics, talked about the program they plan to develop which will first be tested in USC's campus — and then hopefully across Los Angeles.

Warner Bros reportedly spoke at the event as well, specifically about how to bring more entertainment opportunities across IoT and digital devices — and into fans lives, according to Variety.

"We live in an age of data-driven innovation, and initiatives such as the I3 Consortium are essential to leveraging the data that surrounds us for a strong future," said USC Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis in a statement. "USC and Marshall will continue to lead the way in helping our students, faculty and community better understand the convergences between businesses, consumers and governments that will shape cities in this age of data."


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