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Montgomery launches smart city living lab

The lab will feature fibre-optic infrastructure, an expansion of the Alabama city’s open data portal and offer free public wi-fi in downtown areas

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The smart cities lab is being established in downtown Montgomery
The smart cities lab is being established in downtown Montgomery

Montgomery in Alabama is establishing a living lab to support its objective to build a smart city from the ground up. The City of Montgomery is working with the Area Chamber of Commerce, County Commission chairman, Elton Dean, and Alabama Power’s Southern Division vice president, Leslie Sanders.

 

The lab will be equipped with a fibre-optic infrastructure, an expansion of the open data portal and offer free public wi-fi in downtown areas. Projects include the conversion of street lights to LED and the city’s already in-process deployment of smart parking solutions throughout the downtown area.

 

Private-public partnership

 

Montgomery leaders explained that the “smart corridor” will be formalised through the creation of the Montgomery Smart Community Alliance, a private-public partnership focused on advancing smart city initiatives.

 

“Beginning with a smart corridor from the capital to the riverfront, we are building a smart city from the ground up, using fibre and connectivity to seamlessly integrate into the existing environment, while providing a platform for the deployment of any number of smart city solutions,” said Willie Durham, chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This is all about partnerships and leveraging resources to provide a sustainable, prosperous, equitable and inclusive future for all Montgomery residents”

As part of its work, the alliance is coordinating a smart community strategic plan to identify community priorities and solutions that address them, with several initiatives already underway:

  • the City of Montgomery launched its open data portal in January 2017 and has already deployed several internal city initiatives to streamline processes and more efficiently and transparently track resources;
  • the Montgomery Internet Exchange (MGMix), launched through a collaboration among Montgomery County, the City of Montgomery, research universities, Maxwell Gunter Air Force Base and the new Cyber College of the Air Force. It is one of four internet exchanges in the Southeast;
  • building on the city’s award-winning pilot programmes, such Rubicon and RoadBotics, officials will use a new fibre infrastructure to build out more solutions to better serve residents and visitors, including smart parking and potential public safety projects;
  • the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce launched Phase I of the free public wi-fi network called MGMWiFi earlier this month, with plans to expand in the next few months;
  • Alabama Power is working to enhance energy infrastructure around the corridor and is also beginning the process of converting more than 22,000 street lights to LEDs to help improve public safety, increase uniformity, and create over $650,000 in savings over the next five years.

“This is all about partnerships and leveraging resources to provide a sustainable, prosperous, equitable and inclusive future for all Montgomery residents,” said Todd Strange, mayor of Montgomery.

 

"We are seeking to build a fabric of connectivity that can support a multitude of applications and services by utilising the same communications platforms, thus creating efficiencies, saving costs, and ultimately delivering more for those living in and visiting Montgomery.”

 

Montgomery has also been recognised as a Smart 50 Award Winner in recognition of its ongoing work with waste, recycling and smart city solutions company, Rubicon Global. The Montgomery City Sanitation Department deployed Rubicon’s smart city technology last year to provide the city with real-time information on route operations, vehicle patterns, and service interruptions.

 

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