Every night, as millions of citizens all across the world sleep, there’s a technology revolution quietly taking place. This revolution is making cities smarter, more efficient and more livable than ever before. Welcome to Kansas City – where we are building one of the world’s smartest connected cities. And where the citizens, along with the rest of the world’s technology and entrepreneur community, will become today’s innovators that will solve tomorrow’s problems.

Kansas City’s entrepreneurial spirit makes this an ideal location to bring to life the long-standing promise of smart and connected city technologies. At Think Big Partners, you’ll find entrepreneurs, innovators, large established companies and startups from around the globe, working together to build tomorrow’s smart connected city solutions. Think Big Partners will manage Kansas City’s Living Lab, an innovation platform where the best ideas and emerging internet of things technologies can be tested on roads, bridges, buildings and many other city assets. Imagine being able to test sensors, collect data and access other sensor data in a real time, intelligent network that will accelerate the innovation process, in a way that has never been done before.

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities. This unprecedented growth will create complex challenges for government, citizens and the infrastructure that supports modern daily life and the need to connect to essential city services. By combining Cisco’s expertise along with other industry leaders, the ingenuity of the world’s entrepreneur and innovation ecosystem can help build these smart city solutions together.

When the lights go down in Kansas City, residents over 319 square miles sleep soundly, while 93,000 streetlights burn bright. The opportunity to reduce streetlight operating and maintenance costs, while saving precious energy is now a reality. Using Sensity’s NetSense lighting solution, advanced lighting controls can provide differentiated lighting that reduces crime while saving energy through presence based dimming. Self-monitoring light fixtures send fault alerts to centralized control systems that can even detect copper theft and prevent costly unscheduled maintenance. Sensity and Cisco have formed a strategic partnership to create the foundation for many innovations to come. And for Kansas City, that means over $4 million dollars in annual energy cost savings based on lighting alone.

But that’s just the beginning. Today’s smart streetlight can serve as the foundation for a high-bandwidth, low latency wireless sensor network that can move large amounts of big data, while simultaneously providing Wi-Fi access to citizens and public servants. Cisco, along with other strategic partners, are creating well-structured and well-supported API’s that empower developers to build new software, hardware and other solutions that can take advantage of this network to deliver a broad suite of new and useful applications along Kansas City’s 2.2 mile streetcar line.

Imagine using multi-sensor nodes mounted on top of streetlight systems that can help you find the right parking space through your phone or through the dashboard display in your car. At the same time, cities will be able to more efficiently manage parking enforcement through in-ground parking sensors by Altuix, World Sensing and other technology partners.

Sensors will be able to alert the streetcar system operator AND drivers, when a car is blocking the path of the oncoming streetcar. This technology revolution is taking everyday citizen experiences and its problems and turning diagnostic, location based sensor data into corrective action that makes a difference. This means fewer headaches with lower cost to more effectively run a modern city. And it’s all based on internet of things technologies and data analytics delivering value.

Sensor networks will monitor real-time air quality that will prescribe actions based on high levels of CO2 emissions, dangerous carbon monoxide or other pollutants that affect a city’s well-being. Environmental sensors will detect seismic activity, high levels of humidity, trash levels in containers or even measure snowfall to inform different city departments of the exact actions that they need to take – and when.

Through interactive digital kiosks by CityPost, along with its suite of mobile applications, a new golden age of information consumption will begin. Tomorrow’s citizen will be smarter, better informed and more engaged. Through the city’s public Wi-Fi home page and the beacon network, CityPost broadcasts real-time, location-based information and alerts to smartphone users while providing interactive digital tools for citizens, visitors and business owners to visualize and explore important, timely and relevant information about Kansas City.

Cities are challenged to improve its livability index, provide newer services to citizens, and focus on economic growth. Through the captive portal powered by Cisco EMSP Enterprise Mobility Services Platform or EMSP, context aware mobile and kiosk experiences are delivered to citizens by bringing together infrastructure, mobile apps, and cloud services. Urban social apps allow citizens to take ownership of their city by reporting issues on the ground. Thereby creating immediate visibility of administrative problems faced in the city on a daily basis. Using context-aware data and location-based services, EMSP The app opens up the possibility for businesses to promote personalized location based offers to citizens who are in their local vicinity. Through the Cisco Mobile Experience solution, EMSP platform offers businesses analytics and heat maps on their customers based on app activity and social data. Thus giving businesses the ability to reach out to customers who have visited or shown interest in their business.

Kansas City will become one of the most advanced smart and connected cities. Not only by deploying the latest proven applications demonstrating the true power of internet of things technologies, but also by being a smart city technology revolution pioneer.

We are looking for innovators – people and companies who want to join us in this mission to develop new applications that can help solve world problems associated with fast growing cities and the needs of its urban citizens around the globe. If you want to build technology that can be tested in Kansas City’s Living Lab, have a new idea for an application or are a growing city looking for a solution to your unique problem, we invite you to get involved.

This is more than just a technology revolution. Together, we’ve created a faster, smarter and better way to build technologies that can help improve the world. Won’t you join us?

Blake Miller

Author Blake Miller

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