The music of Traffic Lights – how would that sound?

Dennis Rosinder, CEO of Magisty, which help companies to make contemporary technology useful. The text is taken from our publication “Internet of Things”, about how the media industries can benefit from a network of connected things.

It often takes time for new technologies to become a natural part of daily life. Players like IBM and Ericsson create the premises for technology within the Internet of Things. But how can smaller players take advantage of the technology for which the large companies are laying the foundation?

We are the ones—service providers, media companies and innovators—who will play a major role in developing the true benefits, making the new technology useful and valuable.

The idea of how “everything” in the future could be connected is staggering in terms of both public benefit and commercial benefit. We are still decades behind Hollywood’s futuristic scenarios, and we need to start somewhere, but where? The IoT, all things interconnected, needs to be accomplished gradually in order to achieve a healthy development.

Start with what we’ve got

But do we really need to start from scratch? One idea is to start with what is available in our immediate environment. Cities contain tremendous amounts of data that are stored for statistical purposes, as well as the type of data collected in real time by various sensors located all over the city.

A typical example of how this openness can be used is www.dataSF.org – an initiative from the city of San Francisco a few years ago. They made the majority of public data available to the citizens, including data and information on tourism, transportation, police, parking, politics, the environment, civic studies, history, business, etc. Private individuals and companies could then develop web and mobile services for the benefit of citizens, businesses and visitors. Accessibility combined with people’s mobile internet presence made it possible to achieve a completely new level of civic engagement and belonging. From that point new types of commercial, cultural and tourism services had the potential to be created.

Media and the Internet of Things

It is not hard to imagine the incredible possibilities that can arise when creative urban minds have access to all this data. Perhaps curious businesspeople might reveal the city’s historical data archive and then involve the movie and gaming industry to create a historical experience through the city streets?

And wouldn’t it be great to be able to see, as soon as you enter the city limits, exactly which car park has a vacant place close to your final destination? What if the artists created an LED art project from the city’s energy flows, or what would it sound like if a composer created street music from the traffic light signals at the base station?

So my question is: which Swedish municipal commissioner will be the first to walk in Armstrong’s footsteps: one small step for man, a huge leap for mankind?

Red light, green light
When the traffic lights have their say. Photo by * eyedeaz, CC BY-NC-SA

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