Kansas City and its partners plan to spend more than $15 million during the next decade on a “smart city” project that is organized around the Downtown Streetcar line, The Kansas City Business Journal reported over the weekend.

City officials announced in May that Cisco Systems Inc. would make Kansas City its latest smart city, with the use of advanced technology to boost the efficiency of a range of services. On Thursday, Mayor Sly James introduced an ordinance authorizing City Manager Troy Schulte to enter into an agreement with the San Jose-based networking technology company, The Business Journal reported. The story continued:

The ordinance, which will be taken up by the City Council’s Finance, Governance & Ethics Committee on Wednesday, April 22, also authorizes Schulte and Finance Director Randall Landes to execute various agreements regarding the project and its financing.

An ordinance fact sheet prepared by city Chief Innovation Officer Ashley Hand indicates that Kansas City will spend $3.8 million on the project over the next decade and that the amount will be “matched and exceeded by nearly $12 million in private investment by Cisco … and its growing list of partners.”

The ordinance indicates the “Smart + Connected Communities” project will be organized around the city’s 2.2-mile Downtown Streetcar line and may include a public Wi-Fi network.

“This program will also bring new economic development by attracting technology start-ups from across the globe to test their concepts,” the document said.

The Smart + Connected Communities program will include installation of a public Wi-Fi network and “community kiosks” that will allow citizens to call upon city services or make digital transactions. City documents said New York City-based KCity Post plans to open a local office to manage content and maintain the kiosks. The plan also includes installation of “video as a sensor and smart lighting,” that will be integrated with street lighting and be used to “capture data as needed for any future smart city application.” The video component also may be used for monitoring the streetcar line.

The Business Journal continued:

The kiosks are slated to come online when the streetcar begins operating, likely sometime in 2016, according to Michael Grimaldi, a spokesman for the mayor. Construction correlated to the smart city project will begin two to three months after the ordinance is passed and contracts are finalized, he said.

A Living Lab component is a joint proposal by Cisco and Kansas City-based startup incubator Think Big Partners LLC. It will allow emerging network technology to be deployed, tested and validated in Kansas City.

“The Living Lab will create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to build high-growth companies, partner with large companies needing assistance and allow (Kansas City) the ability to reap the financial and social benefits while improving the quality of life and reducing long terms costs,” the document said. “While the smart city concept is not new, the proposal for the Living Lab creates an unique opportunity to make a significant, sustainable impact in this growing sector while benefiting our residents, businesses and visitors with better infrastructure.”

To read the complete story, click here.


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