Fairfax City, Virginia participated in its first annual Smart City Challenge earlier this year. The Challenge brought together governments, universities, businesses, and non-profit organizations who met virtually via Zoom, to seek solutions to problems in housing, transportation, health, water, broadband, education, infrastructure, and public safety.
The Challenge has led to Fairfax City’s Economic Development Office to explore two pilot projects:
- WISE Cities – Where Innovation Supports the Elderly – has a two-step solution for seniors living in urban areas who often lack social interaction and active lifestyles, and are isolated. First, the WISE mobile app, which will help seniors connect with others, along with promoting exercise and wellbeing. Second, the creation of Create WISE spaces – interactive physical spaces for seniors that promote outdoor activity and social interactions; and,
- Engage ARt – an Augmented Reality (AR), smart tourism technology designed to highlight the local culture and businesses of the city. Smartphones will provide 3D and spatial audio guides to create a curated, multisensory experience for users. The system includes a dashboard with an interactive map to be used by businesses, organizations, and the city. They will be able to receive anonymized data about how tourists and residents move around the city, interact with attractions, and shop locally.
“I am thrilled that we were able to invite two teams to explore pilot projects here in Fairfax City,”‘ Christopher Bruno, Fairfax City’s director of Economic Development, said in a statement. “Northern Virginia is an innovation and entrepreneurship power house, and whenever we can pair those forces together with city government to solve problems it’s a win for our businesses and residents.”