Experts agree: public, private sector coordination will drive Smart Communities

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Verizon’s Technology & Policy Center in Washington D.C.

Autonomous cars, energy-conserving street lights, and real-time monitoring of city water lines — these were just some of the emerging technologies highlighted at a Smart Communities panel discussion held yesterday at the brand new Technology and Policy Center in Verizon’s Washington, DC office. The event offered stakeholders and policy leaders a frontline view of how next generation networks are facilitating the Internet of Things (IoT) – specifically, smart technology in our communities, and the impact this will have on the citizens that live in those communities.

Verizon is no longer your traditional phone company.

Verizon is no longer your traditional phone company,” noted Mrinalini Ingram, Verizon’s Vice President of Smart Communities. “It’s at the forefront of IoT innovation and providing the framework and solutions that will create the next technology revolution within the communities we live, work, and play.

Moderated by Techonomy president Josh Kampel, panelists discussed several key challenges public and private entities must address in order to effectively implement next generation digital ecosystems, including:

  • Build working partnerships between local policymakers and private sector entities to create and deploy the digital and physical infrastructures needed to support Smart Communities technology;
  • Increase dialogue between federal, state, and local officials to ensure the proper policy and regulatory frameworks are in place; and
  • Elevate planning around data security and close gaps that may exist

Transformational tech with extraordinary benefits

“Operability is critical for cities to deploy these new technologies,” said Dave Wollman, Deputy Director of Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “To do that, there will need to be better alignment between providers and local communities.”

Daniel Correa, White House Senior Advisor for Innovation Policy, stressed IoT development as a national priority due to its tremendous economic potential. “It will transform multiple sectors,” he said. “So we must ensure the proper tools and resources are in place to support it and efforts like Smart Cities.”

Mrinalini “Lani” Ingram

Moderator Josh Kampel and Mrinalini “Lani” Ingram, discuss the benefits of smart communities.

The Obama Administration has notably played a key role in working to bring Smart Communities to life, launching its White House Smart Cities Initiative last September, which connects federal agencies, academia, and private entities to generate the research, coordination and investments needed to make communities safer, more connected, and more economically competitive. President Obama also recently hosted the inaugural White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh, which convened industry leaders and innovators to collaborate around America’s historic technological innovations, including Smart Communities.

As the path to IoT and Smart Communities continues to be mapped out and refined, panelists agreed that the benefits will be nothing short of extraordinary. 

“This is an incredible digital revolution that will recreate neighborhoods, close divides, reduce the cost of living and make our day-to-day lives easier,” said panelist Gabe Klein, a former transportation official who is now a venture capitalist focused on technology. “We still have a long way to go, but we’re on our way and the future looks promising.”

Leading the Way for U.S. Smart Communities

Verizon is committed to leading the development of Smart Communities and is consistently exploring ways to link localities with needed data services. One way is through its Smart Communities solutions, which allow communities to better streamline operations, share critical information more efficiently and in real-time, and make neighborhoods safer and more energy efficient—all while protecting personal data. Verizon is also a proud leader in cultivating an IoT ecosystem that offers a broad swath of solutions, demonstrating our dedication and passion for pushing the limits of possible.

It’s an exciting time to watch the revolution surrounding IoT and Smart Communities. At Verizon, we’re motivated each day by the capabilities and opportunities that lie ahead, and look forward to continuing to bring these historic and innovative technologies to customers from coast to coast.

About the author:  Melissa is Vice President, Public Policy at Verizon, with a focus on policies that will drive Smart Communities and IoT adoption. Connect with her on Twitter.

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