The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation – a public-private partnership from the state of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and other private and public institutions across the state that are committed to establishing a roadmap for advancing technology and innovation across Georgia – has named the four communities selected for its 2021 Georgia Smart communities challenge.
The Georgia Smart communities will work with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology to expand and enhance connectivity and explore other applications that will improve their services, efficiencies, and cost-savings.
The four communities include:
- Woodbury – the city has employed a wireless internet service provider (Wisp) network as a publicly owned utility. Georgia Tech researchers will assist in the enhancement and expansion of the Wisp network by evaluating the end-user experience;
- Concord – city representatives and Georgia Tech researchers will work together to advance connectivity in the city through further testing, evaluation, and community engagement. They will examine challenges to wireless networks such as geographic terrain, natural foliage, and adoption rates. Researchers will also help the city explore connectivity applications – such as having water sensors available in public facilities for operational efficiency and potential cost savings;
- Pike County – Pike County administrators will receive assistance in analysing technologies to improve connectivity countywide – including exploring different broadband options; and,
- Spalding County – county officials want to identify methods to increase broadband access in the area to aid in economic development. Internet service is hampered by distances in the county, so research will be done to provide Spalding with ideas on technology hardware and software options that will meet the county’s needs, as well as evaluate the current status of connectivity and how to improve it.
“Communities experiencing gaps in connectivity across the state of Georgia have sought creative solutions to bridge them, and still more communities are seeking answers about how to get connected,” said Debra Lam, executive director of PIN. “This cohort has taken steps toward being innovative in a collaborative way. By providing research services to these neighboring communities with established relationships and an interest in coordinating connectivity efforts across city and county borders, GA Smart can make a regional impact and follow the natural expansion of these services across the area. This placemaking opportunity allows communities to plan together, avoid redundancies, and accomplish more collectively.”