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Panelists at CES 2020 Consider Crucial Role of Public Safety in Smart City Infrastructure

Adrienne Patton

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Screenshot of panelists with moderator at CES 2020 event on smart city infrastructure

Smart cities will thrive with better communications capabilities for infrastructure, and for public safety, according to panelists speaking at a CES 2020 session Thursday on the deployment of Internet of Things devices.

Indeed, public safety needs to be a significant priority for smart city innovation, said participates on the panel at the trade show hosted by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas

FirstNet Senior Director Jennifer Harder said public safety improvements are a major aspect of smart cities. Smarter infrastructure can improve response times, save lives, and lower crime rates, she said, stressing the importance of technology that responds to the needs of first responders.

Further, implementing technology that detects various health issues for first responders is crucial. Harder said there are ways to use basic, wearable technology to care for first responders.

Regarding privacy concerns, Harder said that body cameras on policy officers have been found to be beneficial. She proposed finding a logical and safe lines that do not infringe upon medical or other privacy.

Mike Zeto, vice president at AT&T, echoed Harder’s focus on public safety. He commended FirstNet – the First Responder Network Authority that is a quasi-public entity within the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration – as a positive example of collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Panelist Edward Knapp, chief technology officer of American Tower Corporation, highlighted examples of functioning public and private partnerships in Paris keyed to the Summer Olympics four years from now, in 2024.

As Paris improves user experience in their urban environment before the Olympics, private sectors are experimenting with the infrastructure, while in communication with the public. LED lighting, public Wi-Fi, 5G, and bridging digital divides are important elements that go into the creation of a “smart city.”

Knapp said Paris intersections are appropriate places to put sensors and cellular infrastructure.

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