Building Smart Arizona Communities from the Internet Up

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  • February 13, 2017

2017 marks our second year working in the civic technology arena developing technology conferences that (hopefully) provide meaningful and practical information for civic leaders at cities and regions large and small.

We are excited to be working in Arizona with the Arizona City and County Management Association, among other statewide organizations, to bring this content to the local level. It’s clearer than ever that this type of information and insight is most effective when introduced in a high-focus conference setting. The problem is that most civic leaders do not have the time or the resources to attend a national conference in New York or Boston or Washington DC.

This year, we are doing things a little differently. Notably, we are expanding our SmartGig City roadshow into new markets, including Oregon and Florida. We are also expanding the format of our events to include half-day and full-day Technology Briefings (free to attend), as well as content services including videos, infographics and publications.

We are expanding the number and type of information offerings we provide because it is clear to us that there is a huge knowledge gap between the vendor-driven information sources in the national media and the real-world understanding at the local level when it comes to the technology waves swiftly approaching municipal leaders.

It is not just about the ‘smart city,’ or the ‘gigabit city’. These are important for the strategy and planning of States and Cities, but equally important is to understand the approaching changes in urban transportation, including V2X (vehicle-to-everything) systems and platforms, and the role of the municipality in the Autonomous Vehicle revolution.

Big changes coming in mobile networks require new thinking in wireless infrastructure at the local level, including the policies and processes to plan and permit small cells, fixed wireless links and low power wide area sensor networks located on everything from fire hydrants and interactive kiosks to street lights and traffic lights.

It’s also about the changes approaching the Public Safety community. The US Federal Government’s role in “FirstNet” – a dedicated first responder wireless broadband network could have a profound effect on the infrastructure decisions (especially antenna siting and small cell policies) and investments made by municipalities and regional government.

It is this theme – the interconnected infrastructure for cities and regions – that I believe sets our conferences and information services apart. The infrastructure decisions today will guide the innovation and services enabled by governments and their partners tomorrow.

The speed of technology adoption is accelerating, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the city and municipal level. Our objective is to help civic leaders and their influencers in the private and academic sectors understand these technology waves, and how they intersect at the infrastructure level. We expect to achieve this by offering to each statewide community multiple conferences, information products and meetings.

We can’t anticipate the new ideas and solutions that will come from new communications technology but we believe the impact will be broad. Education, insight and information provided at SmartGig Arizona will help drive innovation across all segments of the State, and will lead to new initiatives in telemedicine, energy efficiency, education, emergency communications, transportation and mobile applications.

Digital infrastructure isn’t always the most exciting topic. But for city managers, executives in public works and information technology and transportation, plus their Elected Officials back home comprehension of this digital infrastructure is more important than almost every other far-reaching decision.

I hope you’ll join us in Arizona and elsewhere throughout the country this year. Please connect with me on email or LinkedIn and let me know how we can help your business or community.

Tim Downs
SmartGig Media