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Innovation & government: IoT thought leader says ‘Smart City’ efforts will drive growth


RALEIGH – A new $2 million Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure project is now underway in the Town of Cary is the latest example of how municipal governments across North Carolina are driving innovation for their residents and their workforce and visitors.


Ahead of the RIoT Your Reality Augmented Reality Challenge occurring on July 27, WRAL TechWire spoke with RIoT Executive Director Tom Snyder about the latest “Smart City” project from Cary.


“This is another example of demonstrating to the world that Cary is open to business, innovation, and public-private partnership,” Snyder, who leads the fast-growing Regional Internet of Things users group and technology organization based in Raleigh, said of the latest Cary innovation project. “This leads to other entrepreneurs and innovators wanting to establish their businesses in this region. It is not only a technological advancement but also a key component of economic development.”


And more projects – not just from Cary – are expected as cities ramp up efforts to embrace technology for development and services. (For example, see Raleigh’s smart city initiative.)


In fact, both Cary and the City of Raleigh have posed challenge statements to the NC RIoT community for possible consideration of the development of augmented reality solutions that could become new city services or municipal programs.


- The RIoT Your Reality Augmented Reality Challenge will award $34,000 and a spot in the RIoT accelerator to a winning team to build out its concep. Cities are potential customers. The interview between WRAL TechWire reporter Jason Parker and Snyder follows:


Will this $2 million project in the Town of Cary become a model for other towns and cities in North Carolina, as it pertains to traffic and mobility patterns?

Cary has a history of experimentation and early adoption of new technology. A few years ago, Cary built their central government campus into an IoT testbed, essentially building an open interface for how smart city providers and startups can pilot solutions in the town. This has been highly successful and we have already seen other communities across the US copy Cary’s strategy. This new project feels quite similar and an extension of that philosophy.


- What challenges might arise, in Cary, or in other places, that would need to be overcome?

The benefit of leading and early adoption is that it gives you a seat at the table to define what adjustments and improvements happen as emerging technologies mature. If you wait and follow the market at a future point, then you have to accept what someone else has decided for you. While any new initiative will invariably have unexpected challenges, I laud Cary for putting itself into that position of influence and early learning. It will pay a dividend in the future when the pilot study scales up to city-wide deployment.


- What are the benefits of completing this IoT project, for residents and visitors, and how will/might their life/experiences in the town change?

This is another example of demonstrating to the world that Cary is open to business, innovation, and public-private partnership. This leads to other entrepreneurs and innovators wanting to establish their businesses in this region. It is not only a technological advancement but also a key component of economic development.


The benefits clearly outweigh the risks. I’m biased, of course, as an advocate of IoT and the Data Economy. But the reality is that technological advances WILL steer the economy and how we live our lives. This has been proven throughout all of history.


Change is difficult and hard work. There will be unpredictable setbacks along the way. But those who embrace that change and experimentation will feel far less pain on the front end than those that work to avoid change.


Industries that do not adopt new technology eventually die off. Towns and cities that do not modernize will become less attractive to businesses, risking their future tax base. Better to be welcoming to these future industries now.


https://www.wraltechwire.com/2021/07/16/innovation-government-iot-thought-leader-says-smart-city-efforts-will-drive-growth/

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