Kansas City launches $15.7 million smart city program with Sprint, Cisco
The new Kansas City smart city program, in partnership with Sprint, Cisco and ThinkBig, will see free wifi, smart lighting and interactive kiosks deployed downtown.
Kansas City has partnered with Cisco, Sprint and ThinkBig on a smart city program, which aims to make the city the most connected city in the world and attract the technology, innovation and entrepreneurial community. The initiative’s goals include enhanced internet availability, energy savings, new revenue streams, and improved connectivity with citizens, including efforts to bridge the “digital divide”. In the process, the connected city will also produce vast amounts of data, which will serve as a “living lab” for Cisco, Think Big Partners and other entrepreneurs.
The city has adopted a public-private partnership approach, whereby Kansas City will invest $3.8 million over the next 10 years, an investment which Cisco, Sprint, ThinkBig and their partners will match with nearly $12 million. Sprint is investing around $7 million and Cisco around $5 million, according to Startland News.
Kansas City will be able to deploy the latest smart city technology at a discount and position itself as more attractive to innovators and entrepreneurs, while its connectivity partners will gain access to a real-life testing lab.
Free wifi and sensory lighting
As part of the initiative, free outdoor wifi will be deployed in more than 50 square blocks in downtown Kansas City. Sprint will roll out and manage the wifi network in partnership with Cisco.
Because Sprint will manage 50 percent of the network for its own use, it will be operated at no cost to the taxpayer, said Kansas City. “We are proud to play an integral role in Kansas City’s Smart City initiative, making Sprint’s hometown one of the most comprehensive connected cities in the world,” said Tim Donahue, president, Kansas and Missouri Region at Sprint. “Sprint Wi-Fi will help streamline city operations, generate economic development, and improve the quality of life for Kansas City residents.”
A light sensory network of 125 smart streetlights responsive to citizen activity will also be installed along the newly launched 2.2-mile downtown streetcar line. Sensity sensors and integrated LED street lighting installed by Cisco will be able to capture data. Kansas City expects the light sensory network to save money and energy and reduce light pollution while the KC Streetcar Authority is interested in using the sensors to ensure safe, high quality rides.
Additionally, 25 interactive kiosks at KC Streetcar platforms and locations around downtown will also be rolled out and give inhabitants and visitors access to city services, information on current events, transportation services and local business information among others. Kansas City’s VisitKC and the KC Streetcar Authority will be able to derive advertising revenues from the kiosks. “I’m excited to see our Smart City open to the world,” said Bob Bennett, Kansas City’s chief innovation officer. “This effort helps us connect to 21st century citizens in 21st century ways, understand our city better through use of big data and enable city leaders to prevent problems instead of just solving them.”
The city’s digital roadmap includes improving the delivery of city services, enhancing the citizen experience and supporting entrepreneurship and economic development. The $15.7 million public-private partnership was officially signed in June 2015 when Kansas City entered a strategic agreement with Cisco and its partners ”to develop the most comprehensive smart city network in North America”.
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