Madison, WI

Madison, WI

Better Living Through Connectivity in the Badger State

The applications and solutions supported by enhanced connectivity in Madison, driven by research from UW-Madison faculty in partnership with private sector partners, are on track to positively impact the economy and lives of Wisconsin citizens.


When you visit the City of Four Lakes, you’ll discover it’s more than just a college town—Madison, Wisconsin boasts a booming metro area home to 250,000+ people with ample business and cultural activity, as well as an evolving high-tech economy bolstered by health and biotech companies.

An efficient transportation ecosystem in a city like Madison (with low unemployment rate and busy commuting) is a necessity. Thanks to collaboration between academia, industry, and local government, Madison is building a city-scale wireless and edge computing testbed—an infrastructure on which to run applications that make transportation in the city easy to manage for residents, city employees, and public safety personnel.

One such application tracks the usage of Madison Metro buses, allowing for detailed, real-time analysis of information like the most popular routes, ridership at different times of day, and more. The data informs better transportation planning, benefiting the public servants of Madison and private citizens alike.

Another application under development harnesses opportunities at the intersection of ridesharing and electric cars. With data from the cars accessible via the city-wide network, detailed car information can be tracked (a particular car’s battery level, or a route, for example). A driver could book a shared car knowing not only that a certain vehicle is available, but also feeling confident that the car has no maintenance problems and enough electrical charge to make the trip.

And transportation is just one area of Madison life primed to be supercharged by advanced networking technology. A growing city full of possibility, Madison no doubt has a bright (and connected) future ahead of it.

Featured Project: ParaDrop

ParaDrop is an edge computing framework that lives on Wi-Fi routers, where special applications can be installed with the permissions of owners. These applications enable your router, the nerve center of all internet in the home, to solve complex problems in ways that are impossible using today's routers. Though it began as research project from experts at UW-Madison, ParaDrop is now open source and available to everyone. An innovation like ParaDrop presents significant opportunities for individual use (i.e. in smart homes) as well as public use (energy management and public safety).