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Smart city technology makes waves at The Data Summit 2017

This week’s blog post is contributed by Pete Louison, Creative Director, Oracle Data Cloud.

The Data Summit 2017 landed on April 18 and New York, its host city, was one of the stars of the show. Credit a key piece of summit content: a presentation on emerging smart cities technology in which much of the leading-edge work uses the Big Apple as its lab.

The theme of the day was “The New Possible” and the featured speakers Tim Mahlman, President of Publisher Platforms at AOL and Hugh Martin, Vice President, Smart Communities & Venues and IoT Platforms at Verizon, were well-qualified to share a smart cities vision. Working together, they broke down walls between the two companies and combined their data and tech to explore new IoT possibilities for their smart cities initiative.

Hugh Martin began the talk with a valuable statistic: Lighting alone represents almost 20 percent of the world’s total electricity consumption. As Hugh explained, “Worldwide, streetlights number more than 2B and in the next ten years, every one of them will need to be changed to LED bulbs. Among time, parts and labor, that’s an expensive undertaking—though the energy savings will exceed 60 percent.” To which Tim Mahlman asked, “If we have to go up and change out the bulbs anyway, what else can we do while we’re up there?”

Questions emerged, such as, what sensors make sense? How about devices for video surveillance? What about motion sensors that put the lights on only when a person or vehicle is within range of them? Now that’s an even bigger savings on energy.

But energy efficiency is only part of Hugh and Tim’s broader vision.

The bigger picture is about connecting system infrastructure and data to help communities better serve their citizens. To that end, in 2016, Verizon acquired LQD—creators of a leading-edge, urban-hub technology scheme—that finds form in a free-standing kiosk called “Palo.”

“Palo is a business solution that enhances communities,” said Tim. Each tall, narrow kiosk looks like it came from an architect’s notebook or a sculptor’s studio. The plan is to pilot the first network of Palo kiosks in New York City, then offer the technology to smart cities across the country. And when you consider all that they make possible, demand should be brisk.

For starters, they enable unlimited, free WiFi—tourist traffic will appreciate the maps and wayfinding features on the large screens. Add in promotions for local attractions and even interactive tours that come alive with storytelling as you stroll from one kiosk to the next. Need a cab? Palo will signal to one for you.

Promotions for restaurants and retail would be ongoing. Here’s a promo code for apps at a bistro, just steps away! Community residents will be well served by being able to post community notices, call out local events and explore civic services. Want to find neighborhood groups or organize meet-ups? Check.

What about public safety? Palo’s programmers have thought about that, too. Call police or fire, post emergency alerts, discourage crime with onboard safety cameras.

Globally, 1.3MM people move into cities each week and by 2040, 65 percent of the world’s population will be urban dwellers.

As Tim and Hugh’s smart cities vision comes to life we can imagine those cities being safer, more efficient, more connected and more welcoming than we’d ever thought possible.

Learn more about the smart cities initiative.

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