It’s Official: Smart Cities are coming, but not yet

Dense Networks, an organization that focuses on how connectivity is solving complex business, technical, social and legal issues, recently held its Miami event, “Getting to Smart” as part of its Connected Cities Tour. The event featured numerous speakers from both the technological (T-Mobile, Comcast, Hitachi) and municipal sides (Miami, Coral Gables, Orlando) who described how Connectivity is a vital building block on the road to “Getting to Smart”.
While there are anecdotal examples of cities implementing some “smart services”, a comprehensive “Smart City” requires capital investment, technological expertise and community involvement that most cities are still struggling with. There’s optimism that cities can create a plan for the future, but at the same time, practical deployments have been more difficult to get off the ground and approved by constituents and municipal governments.
Miami’s Smart City Program Manager, Anthony Marvin, spoke about the city moving ahead on many fronts. Ultimately, all solutions must improve quality of life and/or show a return on investment to justify deployment.

Meanwhile, Tavistock Development Company, which developed Medical City, the health and life sciences Complex in the Smart Community known as Lake Nona in Orlando, Fl. has seen consistent growth over the past 15 years.
It has developed with the belief that Smart Communities will develop around access to superior healthcare and technology. Every home and commercial building is connected to a fiber optic network that was built specifically to address the demand for bandwidth. Tavistock partnered with a local service provider to form, DAIS Communications to ensure access to the fastest network speeds. Ken DiScipio, Sr. VP, Tavistock, noted, “72% of our residents have opted in to a study of health habits and overall health being conducted by a J&J and Nemours. Aging in place requires new technology and ways of thinking.” Their new smart homes use IoT technology to study everything from weight to blood pressure. Soon automated shuttles will be operating using the dense network infrastructure.
During a panel about Connected Real Estate, the discussion turned to how smart cities could utilize connected buildings to help provide bandwidth during peak times. Smart tech apps and software are currently being deployed to monitor power consumption and manage the grid in times of crisis but individual building network connectivity has not seen much focus from the Smart City Community. While this may happen, the process has not been put in place quite yet.
Public safety communications was a hot-button issue during the Connected Real Estate panel. Attendees paid close attention to the discussions as they pertained to legislation regarding how laws and regulations might be updated, and how those could impact their buildings. John Foley, General Manager, Safer Buildings Coalition, gave a great public safety presentation outlining the changing laws for commercial real estate owners.
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By the Dense Network Event’s end, it was apparent that will smart cities are evolving at different speeds depending on a city’s resources, expertise and most pressing challenges. It is clear that the term “Smart City” is an overused term that means different things to different cities and it will continue to show promise but is currently closer to the early stages than the end result.
The Connected Cities Tour is scheduled to be in Tampa on 2/21 and Denver 3/14. More info

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