Oklahoma City, home to several hundred sq mi of municipal Wi-Fi, finds another application: Okla. City is working on a $4m plan to reduce the costs and inflexibility of their traffic-light management system. A local news station quotes the city's IT director saying that such a move could cut commuter time on average by 5 percent and stops by 8 percent, as well as allowing dynamic changes for special events. Many cities use outdated and bizarre control channel systems that long predate modern networking; Oklahoma City has none in place at all right now.
I'm channeling one Mr Craig Settles here, but if you have applications for a network before it's built, then you have a purpose to build it, and then more applications emerge that make sense once it's built. Paying $4m to allow remote signal control will likely save residents, commuters, and businesses far more in increasing productivity and reducing gas use, if the numbers the IT director holds up. Beyond that, it likely makes the efficiency of managing intersections far far higher, reducing delays and expense from signals that stop working.
On the other hand, predictions about changes in travel time to improvements in congestion tend to not come true, according to the book Traffic. If you make roads easier to travel, people travel those roads more.
Harvard Square Business Association uses Meraki Solar to extend network: The eagles come home to roost. Meraki was founded by nearby MIT graduate students. The Industry Standard says Harvard Square is officially the first customer for the solar devices. Meraki's founder told me a few weeks ago that in beta testing, they found that solar devices were just as important in the developed world for difficult-to-reach locations: Places where bringing power was so expensive (and involved a recurring bill, in some cases) that solar was more sensible even with the $850 to $1,500 price tag for Meraki Solar.
If you figure that such a device might only burn $50 in power a year, but that bringing power to a rooftop could cost $500 to $2,000, if you're even allowed to hire someone to wire the power correctly), the solar option is perfectly sensible.