Connect (X) Preview: The Road to Smart and Connected Communities

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Momentum around smart and connected communities is growing as municipalities and government agencies are starting to seriously consider the ways connectivity can improve efficiency in their operations and ultimately save money. But how to leverage existing assets and access capital to build out smart community networks remains a question on many city planners’ minds.

Millions of small cells will be needed to meet the demand for mobile capacity, and municipalities of all sizes are fielding more and more requests to install small cells, fiber and a denser array of wireless antennas. Building an adaptable communications network to support today’s needs as well as tomorrow’s expectations is the first step to becoming a smarter, more connected community.

Connected components such as street lights, interactive kiosks, traffic sensors and other smart features can be leveraged to serve multiple purposes. New infrastructure fitted with wireless connectivity will provide a constant flow of information about its surroundings. Light poles and street corners take on new life as networked hot spots. Connected kiosks and beacon technologies convey vital information and do so through open data platforms that allow systems to talk freely with each other without the inhibitions of proprietary software.

In the age of ubiquitous connectivity, smartphones and big data, the vitality of cities is increasingly based on their ability to use digital networks in intelligent, strategic ways. The far-reaching implications of the “smart plus connected city” for economic development, urban planning, social life, and democracy, is less understood.

An important factor when thinking about smart cities is how to fund and finance them. As exciting as it is to discuss the potential, exciting developments that smart cities can bring, whether in terms of urban development, citizen engagement or sustainability, they won’t get off the ground without funding.

On the public safety front, FirstNet is working to build a national data communications network that will put “smart phone” technology in the hands of police, fire, and other public safety agencies. It will enable first responders to share text, pictures, real-time video and other mobile “apps” designed for public safety. As a separate network dedicated to public safety, it will be more secure and less prone to failure during a disaster than today’s commercial networks.

Speakers from Crown CastleAmerican TowerDense NetworksVertical BridgeAero Wireless GroupMobilitieCBNLSitetrackerMosaikNeptunoGraybar and Verizon will address these smart city trends during five sessions exclusively focused on smart and connected communities at Connectivity Expo, May 21–24 in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition, real-world case studies will be presented highlighting cities that have successfully navigated the relationship between technology deployment, economic development and improved civic services.

Learn more about Connect (X) here.

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