The best electronic quarterback for this project? Probably something cheap enough to allow me to scatter a few tiny microcontrollers around a city neighborhood.
I chose this tiny microcontroller (and wifi module) on a chip of non-conductive green fiberglass-epoxy laminate: a Particle Photon, created by Particle.io, a small startup based in Silicon Valley, California, USA, Planet Earth. They cost less than $20. each.
Already there are thousands of these chips out in the world: inside coffee makers, and water control systems, and hacked-together college projects.
When people talk about developing Internet of Things applications, they are often working with Particle Photons. These are what connect and control the "things."
Which means that they possess one major, important, winning feature: they can send and receive instructions, via Internet-connected Cloud servers, from anywhere.