I'm going for the sensational in the headline, but it's part of the story's intro, too: The New York Times reports on some early uses of the city's $500m wireless network designed for non-public uses. The network uses UMTS over licensed spectrum specifically devoted the city's municipal and public safety purposes.
One of the projects leaders uses terms that should warm every New Yorker's heart, if he or she knew what they meant. IT head Paul Cosgrave says the system will overcome silos, an often disparaging term for the separation of resources across groups that can only expensively be overcome. It's the government and business equivalent of the academic problem of a lack of cross-discipline focus.
One of the first applications allows sanitation workforce managers a frighteningly precise amount of knowledge about routes, activities, and behavior of trucks in their territory. Let's hope that's not misused! Efficiency is one thing; micro-management is another.
Another project is testing wireless water-meter reading. The city hopes to spend $90 per meter for the upgrade and shed part of a $12.2m contract with Con Edison that covers 850,000 units. What should be useful about this is that problems can be detected by monitoring waterflow patterns, which in turn allows the often huge problems that take months to notice (occurring underground or in basements where rivers formerly flowed) to be stopped before they turn into multi-million-dollar problems for property owners or the city. Anytime anything happens in Manhattan, it's a multi-million dollar problem.