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For Immediate Release: Monday, September 26, 2016

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has selected Montgomery County as one of four jurisdictions nationally to receive its Replicable Smart Cities Technology grant. Through this agreement, NIST will work with the County to build a first-of-a-kind alert network that uses sensors to detect hazardous situations such as dangerous pollutants and poor air quality. The White House included the award in a fact sheet it released.  

“Montgomery County continues not only to participate nationally as a smart community, but also to lead as one,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “This grant and our partnership with NIST is continued evidence that the County is actively using technology to create a safer environment for all residents, especially our most vulnerable.”

The funds from the grant will assist in building phase three of the projected four phases of the Safe Community Alert (SCALE) network and will focus on completing the cloud infrastructure and ruggedizing the hardware. SCALE has received awards and accolades in the past, and this grant will move the project forward toward a limited release in summer 2017.

“We are very appreciative of this award and look forward to bringing SCALE closer to reality,” said Dan Hoffman, chief innovation officer for Montgomery County.  Once it’s ready, it will be a powerful new tool for the County in preventing tragic loss of life due to fires and improving quality of life for those who could not otherwise afford this technology in their homes.”

Envisioned in 2014, the SCALE sensor network strives to bring the safety and security that connected devices offer to people of all walks of life, especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly and low-income communities; and, the project seeks to test the feasibility of a new element of the public sector safety net, using remote sensors to alert first responders of potentially life-threatening situations like fires, poor air quality, and other safety risks. The SCALE network is being tested in the common areas of a senior living facility in Montgomery County to detect dangerous gases and hazardous air as well as some facets of the physical health and well-being of the project’s volunteers.

The SCALE project is being managed by the Thingstitute, an initiative of County Executive Leggett’s Innovation Program. For more information, visit

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Release ID: 16-439
Media Contact: Dan Hoffman 240-777-2553