The city of Montgomery, Alabama has begun the formation of a smart corridor in the city center – part of its “Smart City Living Lab.” The smart corridor will be formalized through the creation of the Montgomery Smart Community Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on advancing smart city initiatives. The city is working with the Area Chamber of Commerce, County Commission chairman, Elton Dean, and Alabama Power’s Southern Division vice president, Leslie Sanders.
“Beginning with a ‘smart’ corridor from the Capitol to the Riverfront, we are building a smart city from the ground up — using fiber and connectivity to integrate seamlessly into the existing environment while providing a platform for the deployment of any number of smart city solutions,” Chamber of Commerce chairman Willie Durham said.
The corridor will include a fiber optic infrastructure, an expansion of the Open Data Portal initially launched in January 2017, free public Wi-Fi in downtown areas (paid for by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce), the conversion of street lights to LED, a public safety initiative, and deployment of smart parking solutions using street cameras and a cellphone app. The LED conversion alone is expected to save the city more than a half-million dollars over the next five years.
“Having something like downtown wi-fi, having well-lit streets, having safety cameras, different avenues like that make someone more apt to want to visit that area (or) reside in that area,” said Charisse Stokes, executive director of TechMGM, a collaborative effort of private and public entities seeking to build on the area’s tech resources. “But also, if you’re a business, it makes you want to set up shop there or expand. We’re not making a technology investment for just one category or individual.”