Indianapolis is one of five cities recently awarded Readiness Challenge Grants from the Smart Cities Council — a development that paves the way for each city to use smart technologies to boost local innovation, inclusion and investment activities.
The Circle City joins Austin, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia as grant winners, emerging from a pool of 133 applicants. The winning cities each demonstrated the ability to break down organizational “silos” and work across departments to solve problems, said Jesse Berst, chairman of the Smart Cities Council.
“Breaking down the departmental silos is a key challenge in developing a smarter city,” Berst said. “Our coalition of world-class experts looks forward to working with each of these enterprising cities to help them make smart use of technology to become more livable, workable, sustainable, and resilient.”
As part of the grant, each city receives a workshop to plan how to use smart technologies to advance innovation, inclusion, and investment programs — along with products from such companies including Ameresco, AT&T, CH2M, CompTIA, Dow Building and Construction, IDC, Qualcomm, Sensus, Telit, TM Forum and Transdev.
Indianapolis will use its grant to broaden its use of smart utilities and transportation. According to TechRepublic.com, Marion County recently approved development of the nation’s first electric bus rapid transit system — and is building a comprehensive Internet of Things hub known as 16 Tech that will contribute to the city’s digital infrastructure.
“Indianapolis’ culture of innovation and rapidly expanding tech industry provide strategic advantages to our smart city planning, specifically in the areas of water, energy, and transportation,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I am proud to see Indianapolis recognized as a national example of the potential for these technologies to improve local neighborhoods.”
One of the reasons behind Indianapolis’ success in evolving as a “smart city” is early engagement with partners such as Indiana University, Purdue University, IUPUI and other institutions of higher learning, state and local government and the business sector.
“We have a unique opportunity to show national leadership in deployment of smart solutions for water, energy and transportation,” said Erik Hromadka, CEO of Indianapolis-based Global Water Technologies, which is an affiliate of the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. “This recognition reflects years of hard work and investment in Indianapolis to create a world-class city.”
“We have a wonderful group of stakeholders who are actively engaged – from the state level to the university level and different government departments,” said Lauren Riga, assistant administrator of redevelopment for the City of Indianapolis. “One of my tasks has been to help formulate a team around what ‘smart cities’ is and what it means for Indianapolis. In order to set up cities of the future, we need to know what that looks like. We’ve been working at the intersection of economic development, emerging technology and next-generation infrastructure.”