During the last Inria Industry Meeting organized by PRIME in San Francisco on Smart City, we had the pleasure to interview Brandon Davito. Davito is the Vice President of Smart Cities and Streetlights at Silver Spring Networks. He shared with us his views and Silver Spring networks initiatives on Smart Cities.

How is Silver Spring Networks involved in Smart City?

Silver Spring Networks has networking facilities that allow many different types of assets to be connected to the same network. By pulling data from many of those different systems, cities, utilities and individuals can make better decisions.

Can you share some initiatives?

We are working closely with the City of Paris to manage all its street lighting infrastructure. Everything is on the same network, so it is operationally much cheaper for the city to provide that infrastructure. And the city can then provide a better service.

We will create a network over the entire city, allowing many different types of devices and sensors to be connected. To achieve this, Silver Spring Networks is working with a company called EVESA who manages all the street lights. They are committed to achieve more than 60% of energy reduction from street light. This would imply great cost savings and a positive impact on environmental sustainability.

We also work with the city of Copenhagen where we want to connect many different types of devices to control not only the street lights but also the traffic lights. We have similar projects in San Francisco, Chicago, Glasgow, and a number of other capital cities around the world.

Why is it important for Silver Spring Networks to build technology partnerships with start-ups?

We want to develop a new ecosystem with many different players. Therefore, we need to know more about different areas and acquire new expertise.

This is why we have actually acquired a Paris region-based company called StreetLight Vision. This small company built a world-class street management system used by over 300 cities that gives knowledge on what’s going on in a streetlight network. It is really exciting to be able to support this company by opening up our data, to bring them specific expertise and to create value for either our customers or a whole new set of industries.

How do you enable these partnerships?

We publish all the data that comes in our system on our Silverlink application program. It is basically a set of APIs. If a company works with a city or a utility, we would have to integrate into its back office data house and it would take us years to standardize across many customers. By using our API, we allow many different start-ups to access data easily.

What are your key takeaways from this first Inria industry Meeting?

I think it is great to be able to bring many different perspectives from both sides (Government and corporations) together in one place. We believe in France as a destination for innovation, as a key source of differentiation and expertise. We have invested in France and we will continue to!

This Inria Industry Meeting is a great opportunity to bring Silicon Valley and some new ideas to France where there are really different challenges. Cities have much more control in Europe than they have in the US: being able to partner with and learn more about what is going on in Europe helps our business. It makes us much more competitive and it enables us to deliver great products.

To get more information on this Inria Industry Meeting on Smart city and to see what has been presented, you can visit its dedicated website