Recap: Smart Cities Expo

Earlier this month, the smart region team participated in the Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge Expo. This was a national event hosted by the federal government to drive productive conversations on smart city technology in the United States.

In her keynote address, Diane Rinaldo, Assistant Secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), made the case for regional collaboration. Like Greater Washington, many metropolitan areas across the country are made up of multiple smaller jurisdictions. Sometimes these metropolitan areas cross state lines. This fragmentation can pose political and administrative barriers to deploying new infrastructure for the whole metropolitan region, even when the people who actually live and work in these areas cross jurisdictional borders every day. Rinaldo stressed that by making the effort to work regionally, metropolitan areas can deliver greater benefits to residents and workers while enjoying economies of scale.

Continuing the conversation on regionalism, Board of Trade CEO Jack McDougle represented Greater Washington on the smart region plenary panel. Jack spoke on our region’s longstanding challenges with inequality and our uniquely intricate patchwork of local, state, and federal government entities. He explained that our approach is unique in that it is focused on collaboration and social inclusion, so that all residents benefit from what smart city technology has to offer.

Two congressmen spoke: Brendan Boyle (PA-02) and Paul Tonko (NY-20). Congressman Boyle stressed that modern infrastructure is much more than bridges and roads. We must think about infrastructure in a smart way, leveraging all that modern technology has to offer. Congressman Tonko stressed the need for government leaders to embrace opportunities to make our communities more connected, citing economic development and sustainability benefits.

Karl Darin, Vice President of the Greater Washington Smart Region Movement, represented our region at the Smart Regions Collaborative session, where metropolitan regions from around the country presented on their approach to deploying smart initiatives.

At that evening’s reception, Lindsey Parker, Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia, spoke on her office’s priorities. She explained that we must “open up the technology box” and make the value proposition clear and understandable for the general public and their elected leaders. She called on greater collaboration among government agencies, universities, and business. She then praised the Greater Washington Smart Region Movement for taking this approach.

Since this was an expo, the Greater Washington Smart Region Movement had a booth. Smart City Media donated a live wifi kiosk that served as an example of the kind of useful, connected technology we will deploy regionally.

We were glad to participate in this national event and to see how our approach in Greater Washington compares to those in other regions. More than ever, we believe that we can be the nation’s leading digitally enabled region and set an example for communities around the country.