By Debbie Fisher, Market and Consumer Insight, Alcatel-Lucent
As Louis Witters wrote in his blog post, we’ve now extended our research and partnered with Erin L. Henry, PhD Program in Organizational Behavior and Sociology at Harvard Business School, to gain insight from the people living in or relocating to what many are calling “smart cities.” How did they define a smart city? Were they aware they lived in a smart city? What services would make a difference in their lives? And, what was their vision for their city? We’ve captured three amazing stories in our recently completed video with citizens from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, that speak to these questions. These citizens are served by EPB, the local utility and now the proud supplier of North America’s fastest and largest 1 gigabit network. Watch this interesting and enlightening video:
Jack, Jim, and Helen exemplified what we heard from others — that a smart city is one that shares a culture and passion for collaboration. It celebrates differences and sets aside personal agendas for the greater good of the city. Moreover, a smart city respects the fact that technology is an enabler which touches the lives of its citizens in many ways.
But there’s more to the story … so I thought a Top Ten list might be the best way to share more of the presentations and visions of these wonderful people who are working and living in Chattanooga. And believe me, it was no small task selecting ten as I could have easily shared many more … maybe another day, another city.
So here’s my favorite “Top Ten Stories of the People Living in the Smart City of Chattanooga.”
#10 – A LEED-conscious architect who can imagine a host of new energy development applications and businesses creating more sustainable architectural designs and proving the value of eco-sustainable living.
#9 – A partner in a marketing services firm described a “life” rating system which would reward people who acted smart by changing their energy consumption to use power at off-peak hours, being more aware of their consumption, and by using real-time energy data to change behaviors.
#8 – A small business owner who recently relocated to Chattanooga — after living in Silicon Valley and Phoenix — to launch his education-based cloud services firm. He expects the gig and M2M technology to revolutionize the home entertainment industry. He goes on to suggest that utility and other service providers should shift their message from selling capacity to selling entertainment.
#7 – The head of the NGO leading downtown redevelopment spoke with pride of the ceremony which drew 300 people to the Spirit of Innovation Award. This award was given to a local lighting company that developed a solution leveraging the high-speed infrastructure which remotely controls the lighting of the streetlights depending on activity in the area. Now she feels a new sense of safety walking to her downtown office.
#6 – The head of the regional planning initiative who envisions a self-cleaning kitchen or the ability to make video calls (without any jittering or buffering) while enjoying a day boating on the river.
#5 – The city CIO who shared many stories of how technology had delivered numerous benefits by thinking broadly rather than in departmental silos. He cited saving over $1 million in the city’s lighting costs and 30% to 40% additional energy savings per streetlight by connecting it to the city’s wireless network to remotely dim during off-peak hours. They’ve also turned the same streetlights into rain gauges to reduce flooding and “sniffers” to identify safety threats. Smart technology has also had an immediate impact on reducing crime and the cost of fighting crime. Within the next two years, he expects between 2000 to 3000 connected devices and a continuing explosion of new services and cost reductions. That’s good news for citizens who see their tax dollars are being spent wisely while realizing a safer, greener lifestyle.
#4 – The head of the local housing authority who envisions changing the lives of residents and reducing the digital divide by drawing on the talents of application developers to invent solutions for social change.
#3 – A young mother who simply told how she’d love to hold live Internet-based, parent–teacher conferences for her 7-year-old son while her 2-year-old daughter took a nap.
#2 – A lifelong resident now heading one of the city’s leading foundations who has been at the center of nearly every story we heard by connecting people and ideas. He spoke of a firm called Global Green which set up shop in Chattanooga rather than in China because of the wireless network and support structure available to them.
#1 – The head of a local enterprise organization who wished he was 20 years younger so he could experience the incredible, positive changes that would touch the lives of all citizens of Chattanooga and the citizens across the world due to the gigabit infrastructure and ability to implement smart/M2M solutions.
This list is only the tip of the iceberg, so watch for more blog posts on what we’re hearing from people around the globe. After all, smart cities and the quality of life they deliver is extremely personal and truly experienced through the eye of the beholder. Technology will continue to impact people’s quality of life and help make cities smarter. But in the end, it is the people who realize and shape the potential of a connected society.