Working with Technology to Build a “Smart City”


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Capalino Attends Smart Cities World Expo

Written by Tom Gray, Senior Vice President of Capalino, who attended Smart Cities World Expo 

Government must work alongside new innovation and technology firms to ensure a positive economic outcome. To understand today’s economic scope, one-fifth of the S&P 500 is comprised of technology companies. City, State, and national legislators must react quickly to the incredibly dynamic landscape of new technologies, and work closely with firms to establish regulation for these emerging technologies. If they don’t, we could fall behind those who do. Some cities, regions and countries are taking a more proactive approach.

While at the Smart Cities World Expo this year, one of the keynote speakers was Sr. Jordi Puigneró, General Director of Telecommunications and Information Society at Government of Catalonia, who discussed their new smart region plan. The Government of Catalonia recently approved Catalonia’s Smart Strategy (SmartCATalonia) to deploy smart initiatives throughout the region. SmartCATalonia aims to transform Catalonia into a smart region that uses technology and digital information to innovate the provision of public services, boost economic growth and promote a more intelligent, sustainable and cohesive society. Watch the full panel here.

Here are three examples of technology outpacing regulations:

1) E-hail

Companies have been connecting independent drivers with passengers across the U.S. for over five years now, and some state and local governments still are unsure about how to respond. Take, for instance, the recent ban of Uber in the Hamptons, a community where carless New Yorkers flock during the summer months. Read more here:

2) Commercial Drones

Recently, the New York City Council will look at banning drones in the City. The legislation they are considering would ban all drones in the City, except for those manned by police with a warrant. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s study of the economic impact of unmanned aircraft systems in the United States, there is the potential for tremendous economic benefit with UAS integration. AUVSI’s findings show that in the first three years of integration more than 70,000 jobs will be created in the United States, with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. This benefit will grow through 2025 when AUVSI foresees more than 100,000 jobs created and an economic impact of $82 billion. See full report here:

3) Driverless Vehicles

Google’s LiDAR-equipped driverless vehicles have been safely navigating U.S. roads since 2012. The company is now in talks with several major companies including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Continental Automotive Systems, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, and Volvo to expand the technology. Yet testing for driverless vehicles is open in just three states: Nevada, Florida, and California. Google’s driverless vehicles have driven over 700,000 miles without getting into a single accident not caused by a human driver. Crowded subways, congestion, pollution, and Vizon Zero are all reasons to look at bringing this technology to our city in a real way. Take a driverless bus lately?

At Capalino, we often work with individual technology companies and associations to have this conversation with Government sooner, before the pace of innovation creates tension between these new technologies and government. To learn how other cities and countries are tackling technology regulation, check out the video from the Smart Cities Conference.  Or, maybe I will see you in Spain in 2016!

Tom Gray, Senior Vice PresidentTom Gray

Tom uses his experience in city government to assist clients in land use matters, business development, and community relations.

About Tom


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