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Recent developments in spectrum policy and regulatory domains, notably the release of the National Broadband Plan, the publication of final rules for TV white spaces, and the ongoing proceeding for secondary use of the 2360-2400 MHz band for medical body area networks, will allow more flexible and efficient use of spectrum in the future. These important changes open up exciting opportunities for cognitive radio to enable and support a variety of emerging applications, ranging from smart grid, public safety and broadband cellular, to medical applications. This article presents a high-level view on how cognitive radio (primarily from a dynamic spectrum access perspective) would support such applications, the benefits that cognitive radio would bring, and also some challenges that are yet to be resolved. We also illustrate related standardization that uses cognitive radio technologies to support such emerging applications.