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The Next U.S. Smart Cities


Recent news that Verizon will invest $300 million to deploy its fiber-optic FiOS network to a series of neighborhoods across Boston over the next six years adds new heft to the city’s tech options. Verizon said the advanced fiber-optic technology it will roll out will provide greater economic opportunity to unleash the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that enhance public safety, transportation, and energy efficiencies.

“We are delivering the promise of the digital world to families, schools and medical facilities, businesses and entrepreneurs, while strengthening our neighborhoods and communities, Verizon Wireline Network President Bob Mudge said.”

In keeping with this spirit of innovation, Verizon is crowdsourcing build-out locations. Via a dedicated website, Verizon invites businesses and community members to vote on which neighborhoods they should focus on first such as Roxbury, Dorchester or Dudley Square, to help them determine priorities.

The human and business benefits of these infrastructure upgrades are significant at a local level. “Innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses in neighborhoods throughout Boston desire local spaces with strong connectivity to foster their ideas,” said Alessandra Brown, program manager, Roxbury Innovation Center. “For people and groups who utilize the Roxbury Innovation Center, this fiber-optic build-out means better access to information, technology, and education services, while laying the groundwork for continued growth for years to come. 

AT&T is also substantially investing in bringing smart solutions to U.S. cities. In Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta, the company is advancing smart innovations in partnership with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel and Qualcomm Technologies, Computerworld reports. A variety of objects connected with the cloud will optimize street lighting, improve water and utility efficiencies, and detect and alert public safety professionals to potential incidents and threats.

Other cities are also eager to take their technology infrastructure to the next level. A recent Business Insider article highlights a U.S. Department of Transportation competition geared toward mid-size cities, which plans to award $50 million to urban transportation projects that integrate IoT technology. In addition to a $40 million federal grant and a $10 million private-sector contribution, the winning city will receive an array of innovative tools to help support and facilitate the modeling and implementation of their plans.