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Global City Teams Challenge

Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) involve connecting smart devices and systems—in diverse sectors such as transportation, energy, manufacturing, and healthcare—in fundamentally new ways. These technologies will enable cities and communities to improve services, promote economic growth, and enhance the quality of life.  With 54 percent of the world's population now living in cities, the development of "smart cities" and "smart communities" is becoming a major focus around the globe.

Because many of today's smart city/community development efforts are isolated and customized projects, NIST launched the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) to encourage collaboration and the development of standards. The Global City Teams Challenge's long-term goal is "to establish and demonstrate replicable, scalable, and sustainable models for incubation and deployment of interoperable, standard-based IoT solutions and demonstrate their measurable benefits in Smart Communities/Cities." To put it simply, this program will help communities benefit from the experience of others to improve efficiency and lower costs.

 GCTC—Second Round

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NIST and several partners have launched a new effort to bring together two key groups—communities with challenges and innovators with the technology to overcome them. The second Global City Teams Challenge(GCTC) was announced at the White House Smart Cities Forum as part of the Administration's New Smart Cities initiative on September 14, 2015.

The new challenge will bring communities and innovators together to encourage collaboration on a range of issues from disaster response to energy management to mass transit improvement. The goal is to help communities and businesses connect to improve resource management and quality of life by using effective networking of computer systems and physical devices, often called the Internet of Things (IoT) or cyber-physical systems.

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 Initial Team-Building Workshop on Nov. 12-13

NIST is inviting representatives from both industry and local governments to join an initial team-building workshop on Nov. 12 and 13, 2015, at NIST’s campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Attending the workshop will help participants find the right partners to solve their specific problems and create “smart cities” that take advantage of what IoT has to offer.

This new challenge will build on the success of the GCTC's first round, which began in September 2014 and created 64 teams of more than 50 cities and 230 organizations. The teams demonstrated the tangible benefits of using IoT to improve quality of life, focusing on solutions that could be deployed across multiple cities. More than 1,400 people attended the final expo in June 2015, including the King and Queen of the Netherlands.

The second round has been expanded to run in two phases over 20 months, in response to team recommendations from the first challenge. In the first phase, culminating in June 2016, participants will focus on creating plans for deploying their projects and proposals for measuring their success; the second phase will focus on actual deployment and measuring benefits in the real world. The accomplishments of the teams will be showcased at an exposition planned for June 2017.

To support the challenge, NIST has teamed with US Ignite, a nonprofit organization focused on the creation of next-generation Internet applications that provide transformative public benefit. Partners in the challenge will include the National Science Foundation; the International Trade Administration; the U.S. Departments of Transportation and State; the International Trade Administration; the private sector's IBM and AT&T; nonprofits WeGO, FIWARE, and the Industrial Internet Consortium; and the governments of the Netherlands and South Korea. Other participating members include Intel, Qualcomm, Bosch, Siemens, CH2HL, Mathworks, Pecan Street Inc., Yet Analytics, MIT, Vanderbilt, UT Dallas, the University of North Texas, and Ohio State University. For more details on the complete list of teams, please visit the US-Ignite website.

Register here for the Initial Kick-off Workshop on November 12 and 13, 2015. Learn more about the challenge here

For further information, contact:
Sokwoo Rhee (
Associate Director of Cyber-Physical Systems Program

Conferences and Events

Initial Kick-off Workshop, Nov. 12 and 13, 2015, at NIST's campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland