CES 2018: CIOs push smart city agendas through tech partnerships, outreach

On the CNET stage at CES, TechRepublic editor-in-chief Jason Hiner hosted a discussion with technology heads from Kansas City, Miami and Las Vegas.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

The smart city sector is one of the hot topics at CES 2018, with nearly every major technology provider looking to jump into the connected ecosystem. Likewise, major metropolitan areas across the country are eager to implement technology that could bring urban living into the digital age.

On the CNET stage at CES, TechRepublic editor-in-chief Jason Hiner hosted a discussion with technology heads from Kansas City, Miami and Las Vegas. In each city, CIOs are working to advance smart city agendas and pioneer the next wave of innovation to transportation, safety, infrastructure and connectivity systems.

Kevin Burns, CIO for the city of Miami, explained how smart city technology was used in preparation for last year's active hurricane season. The city worked with GIS mapping software company Esri on 3D modeling that looked at how storms would impact sea level rise.

SEE: Smart cities: The smart person's guide(TechRepublic)

Miami is also incorporating technology into the construction of its new new police headquarters, and is redeveloping the city's website with features for the hearing impaired.

In CES' host city Las Vegas, CIO Michael Sherwood has prioritized transportation safety and envisions a reality with zero fatalities on the road. "It's building a bridge from today's automotive world to full autonomy," Sherwood said.

Kansas City CIO Bob Bennett highlighted how the city is now serving as the laboratory for one of the largest test fleets of connected vehicles in the country. The partnership will help lay the foundation for smart city data collection and management, and ultimately advance the city's efforts to accommodate self-driving cars.

"We're learning how to use data to be a proactive city instead of a reactive city," Bennet said.

The CIOs were in agreement that city mayors play a major role in bringing smart city projects to life, as do the bevy of technology partnerships required to create an entire ecosystem of technology within a city.

"For the city of Miami, the mayor understands technology and has a vision for moving it forward," said Burns. "So its much easier to talk about technology and get the resources I need to expand, and the technology we need for the smart city area."

"Partnerships with vendors and the community -- you need both to execute smart city agendas," Bennett added.

SEE: Louisville and the Future of the Smart City (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)

Community education is also among the list of initiatives that the CIO panelists highlighted.

"Roughly 96 percent of residents in Kansas City have fiber access at their doorway," said Bennett. "But in half of our neighborhoods, citizens don't take advantage of that because of a mindset barrier or a social barrier. We want to focus on educating the public about digital opportunities."


At the end of the CES panel, TechRepublic and Harvard presented smart city commendations to Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Miami.

Image: Derek Poore/TechRepublic
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