Kansas City, home of Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo 2018, has long been a leader among smart cities. We asked them what it means to receive a Smart 50 Award, and here’s what they said:
The City completed an extensive coordinated suite of connective Wi-Fi technology and analytical platforms along the 54-block streetcar corridor on Main St. to enhance the citizens’ experience and improve delivery of City services. This proving ground demonstrated the utility of a comprehensive smart City system of system that includes 328 WiFi access points, 178 smart street lights, 25 interactive kiosks and a data analysis and display platform that fuses dynamic data gathered in the smart district with existing City and 3d party data sets. The fused data provides City leaders with a more holistic and horizontally integrated perspective of City operations and enables them to rapidly respond to shifting requirements in a manner that improves operational efficiency and provides better services to Kansas Citians.
Q: What does the term ‘smart city’ mean to you, and how does your project contribute to a larger smart city vision?
A: To be “smart,” a city must understand its citizens’ needs, develop a comprehensive plan where all departments collaborate to solve issues and have policies that govern what role data collection, use, privacy settings and sharing will play. When These governance and policy decisions are made, the city can focus on collecting the relevant data, much of which already exists in city offices. Only then should sensors be deployed to collect specific data required to better understand the community. Phase I of our initiatives allows us to validate that what we have does, in fact, meet those citizen needs and allows us to expand smartly.
Q: Why is the implementation of your project transformational in our current society?
A: It enables our local government, and our new generation of local government employees, to use 21st century tools to solve everyday problems in our community. 21st century citizens deserve 21st century government.
Q: What advice did you receive along the way that helped you complete your winning project?
A: Keep pushing. Tech companies are notoriously late in delivery and the tech often fails; work with them anyway. The procurement office is difficult to work with; work with them anyway. “Citizens don’t get tech” – that’s just wrong, citizens don’t understand jargon; speak using terms that relate tech to their problems. Regardless of the challenges – and these 3 are just a small sample size – keep pushing.
Q: What advice would you give a city community or a solution provider looking to implement a municipal-level project?
A: Just start. Start in a space where you can demonstrate efficacy, and get working. Your success will breed future successes.
Q: What does it mean to you to win the Smart 50 Awards?
A: It’s a great honor and a chance to highlight the work of our 14 private sector partners as well as the patience and vision of the folks who thought downtown KC could come back. Back in 2000, this part of town was desolate. Now, it’s home to the 54 smartest blocks in North America. Kansas Citians have accomplished a lot.