The City of Peachtree Corners, Ga., is already on this path. It’s one of North America’s only real-world smart-city environments, where top technology companies from all around the world are testing, developing, and making decisions on emerging IoT and connected technologies for the smart-city landscapes of the future. At the center of these efforts is a living laboratory called Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, which was designed specifically as a proving ground for technology that has graduated from a closed laboratory environment. For instance, there’s a 5G-enabled AV (autonomous vehicle) test track. Through its efforts, Branham says Peachtree Corners is serving as a model for how the private sector and government entities can work together to make smart-city dreams a reality.
Looking to the future of his own city, Jason JonMichael, assistant director of smart mobility for the Austin Transportation Dept., hopes the IoT continues to make Austin and its residents safer, sustains what makes the city unique while experiencing unprecedented growth, and continues to deliver equitable outcomes and create trust. He says future smart cities will talk a lot, and, hopefully, a lot of people and systems will be listening. “What they say and how they interact will determine our success,” he adds.
Speaking specifically to smart mobility systems within smart cities, JonMichael says: “The level of interactivity between infrastructure and people will continue to increase; we have to be cognizant of how that could create ‘smart-city noise’. It’s not only what we say, but also how we say it. Language should never be a barrier. Information must be meaningful, culturally appropriate for all. All people should feel comfortable and safe when interacting with smart mobility. These are some of the characteristics that make something ‘smart’ in our definition of ‘what is a smart city’.”