Cities That Outsource (…And Why They Win)

If you’re not working for a city, that doesn’t mean you’re not working for a city. More and more, we’re finding that non-municipal entities contribute greatly to the smart cities movement. Here are a few organizations we met at Smart City World Expo in Barcelona that have our attention:

Dallas Innovation Alliance

Jennifer Sanders and her team at the 501c3 Dallas Innovation Alliance complement and, in many cases, spearhead smart city work in Dallas, Texas through a public private partnership. They announced a living lab project the West End of the city, which will include intelligent LED lighting, interactive digital kiosks, network connectivity, public Wi-Fi, smart parking, smart water, smart irrigation, an open source platform, and an end-to-end mobility app.

“It’s not about the technology. It’s about how we help people and solve problems,” said Sanders.

Cleantech San Diego

Although the name may suggest a narrow subject matter expertise, Cleantech San Diego integrally supports the San Diego area by taking the reins on all sorts of innovation projects – hand-in-hand with municipal leaders – and encouraging sustained focus on the city’s passion: responsible energy consumption and creation.  For example, the organization is a key partner in making San Diego a Smart Gigabit Community with US Ignite. It also has active projects at the port, in Chula Vista, and in Carlsbad, uniting the broader region and facilitating cooperation.

“We hope that the deployment of these technologies not only benefit our local and global economies but also have some positive impact on our environment. About six years ago, we launched the Smart Cities San Diego initiative…to really work with cities in the private sector to deploy smart cities technology with them,” said president and CEO Jason Anderson.

Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

Coordinating the Smart ATL team at the Expo, Jorge Fernandez, Vice President of Global Commerce, brought not only the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce but a cadre of companies working to make Atlanta smarter. When we think about economic development, we have to consider the future. Our world is changing rapidly and even the 9th largest city in the United States with the third highest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters will have to remain nimble, not only to remain prosperous but more importantly to maintain and continue to improve quality of life for its citizens.

“The best way you could see us is as a connector. We represent the entire metropolitan area. We’re bringing not only the Fortune 500 companies here today but also we’re bringing the startup community, other cities such as Alpharetta, and the university system. We continue to connect our ecosystem to global networks,” said Fernandez.

While we do need city leaders to make smart advancements a priority and to lead in a larger visioning process, community leaders have an integral role in supporting that development. Which organizations will have the greatest impact on your city?