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Smart Cities

Collaborative Smart City Pilots Show Promise in Improving Internet Access

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Photo of Gov. Mike DeWine by the U.S. Department of Justice used with permission

May 21, 2020 — The implementation of smart technologies may be a key in solving economic challenges at the regional level, said panelists in a BroadbandUSA webinar Wednesday.

The webinar focused on how smart city initiatives could improve sustainability and quality of life, including broadband access, featuring panelists from the Global City Teams Challenge Smart Regions Collaborative, such as Dominic Papa, vice president of the Smart States Initiative for the Arizona Commerce Authority.

“With the rise of COVID, one of the first big challenges that we saw was the inequality of remote education, and students not having the broadband connectivity at home to really download and complete their homework assignments,” Papa said. “Add on the fact that places like Starbucks and our libraries were closed due to the pandemic, it makes it extremely difficult for these students to keep up.”

“We actually saw kids sitting with their backs against the wall of the library, trying to access the internet from the outside in,” he added.

In response, the region formed a partnership with Cisco and announced a new initiative to expand Wi-Fi internet access at state libraries. The proposed solution is being tested at five libraries, Papa said, with the goal of improving the technology and then commercializing and scaling to libraries across the state.

This process of going from pilot to scale has proven difficult in the past, with Papa calling it “the main challenge that we’d really hit on in our region” and citing limited funding and staff as major roadblocks.

The model that has ultimately proven most successful in scaling, he added, is that of bringing several separate jurisdictions together in a consortium comprised of industry leaders, university researchers and greater Phoenix communities.

The consortium collaboratively designs and develops new innovative technology pilots to ensure that all communities in the region have the necessary tools to prosper in the digital age, Papa said.

Bringing technology to the urban environment can have both positive and negative outcomes, said Jonathan Fink, Director of the Digital City Testbed Center, Portland State University.

“We can make resources more accessible and get better health outcomes, which is something we’re focused on quite a bit right now around the world, reduce carbon emissions and so on,” he said. “But the negative aspects of bringing technology into cities are that there are privacy issues, there are questions about monopolization — who owns the data, how equitable is the access to the new services that can be provided?”

In order to evaluate these competing concerns and plan for successful smart city integrations, Fink presented three questions.

First, among all of the options available, how do cities evaluate which technologies are best for their urban environment? Second, how can the general public be involved in asking that same question?

Finally, how does the private sector foster collaboration and align the various components of smart city technology with each other in order to meet the needs of both the cities and the public?

All three of these groups — cities, the general public and the private sector — rely on careful testing and cooperation, Fink said.

Smart region technologies include possibilities for improved mobility, sustainability, education, cybersecurity, agriculture and more, said Mark Fisher, President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region.

The Great Lakes Region contains a third of the combined workforce of U.S. and Canada, Fisher said. If it were a country, it would have the third largest economy in the world. The scope of the binational region makes the process of demonstrating and scaling smart solutions all the more important.

“A key to this project’s success is being able to leverage and connect to the many strengths and assets that these partners have and really trying to work on these problems in a collective collaborative way,” Fisher said.

The region’s initial pilot project was undertaken was in Defiance, Ohio, which Fisher noted was an ideal location because Gov. Mike DeWine has made goals such as state-wide broadband a top priority.

According to Fisher, the next steps for the region involve vision development, funding procurement and the launch of a webinar series to share best practices.

The region will also attempt to promote and scale the Defiance pilot project by inviting new collaborators and funders to support it.

Smart Cities

FCC’s Multi-Dwelling Decision Could Hamper Smart Wi-Fi Technology, Developer Says

The decision may disrupt managed Wi-Fi in multi-family arrangements.

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Screenshot of Ted Maulucci, president of SmartOne Solutions, in 2017

HOUSTON, May 5, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission’s decision paving the way for more competition in multi-tenant buildings may inadvertently hamper smart building technology, according to a developer of smart city tools.

The FCC finalized rules in February that prohibit internet service providers from entering exclusive revenue sharing agreements in which landlords get a cut of service provider contracts in order to increase service provider competition.

But the rules will mean managed Wi-Fi will suffer, according to a technologist at a Broadband Breakfast panel on Wednesday. That’s because such smart tools require a core group of subscribers – often done through a “bulk” purchase – to be economically viable. The result is more complicated community networks as competition between providers increases, he said.

“A lot of providers are building networks that only deliver internet to the home,” said Ted Maulucci, president of SmartOne Solutions, a smart tools developer from Canada. “They are not building networks that allow you to segregate networks within the building . . . The biggest problems we face are solved by network. The networks have to be created right.”

Maulucci called for the government to push for network building standards necessary for this technology.

Screenshot of Ted Maulucci, president of SmartOne Solutions, in 2017

Smart devices are becoming increasingly popular in multi-family units. Smart buildings are pre-engineered with this technology to promote sustainability, convenience, and safety in multitenant dwellings.

A shared interface allows residents to control thermostats, let people into the building, and view security camera visuals. Machine learning helps communities modify consumption behavior to promote sustainability and alerts residents of possible security threats through analysis of aggregated data.

Networks supplying broadband internet support these added benefits, making a community network essential for functionality.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event and REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 12 Noon ET – The Future of the Smart Home, and the Future of the Smart Apartment Building

Americans are increasingly integrating smart technology into their homes and digitizing facets of everyday life. Going forward, what aspects of digitization in the home may need to be regulated by government policy? Are there any changes people are making to their homes that the tech industry should be concerned by? With all the issues surrounding broadband access in many multi-dwelling units, is there any hope for the possibility of smart apartment buildings for residents as standards of technology continue to advance? Join us for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online event from the Broadband Communities Summit to look at these questions and more.

Panelists for this Broadband Breakfast Live Online session:

  • Kevin Donnelly, Vice President, Government Affairs, Technology and Strategic Initiatives, National Multifamily Housing Council
  • Amy Chien, Director of Strategic Innovations, BH
  • Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Product Marketing, ADTRAN
  • Ted Maulucci, President, SmartONE Solutions – A Smart Community Company
  • Guillermo Rivas, Vice President, New Business Development, Cox Communities
  • Drew Clark (presenter and host), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Kevin Donnelly is Vice President for Government Affairs, Technology and Strategic Initiatives at the National Multifamily Housing Council and represents the interests of the multifamily industry before the federal government focusing on technology, connectivity, risk management and their intersection with housing policy. Kevin is a part of NMHC’s Innovation and Technology team and leads its Intelligent Buildings and Connectivity Committee.  Kevin has spent over 15 years in the public policy arena at leading real estate trade associations and on Capitol Hill. Kevin received his BA from Rutgers University and his Masters in Public Management from Johns Hopkins University.

Amy Chien, Director of Strategic Innovations, BH

Kurt Raaflaub leads ADTRAN’s product marketing and public relations team, and has more than 25 years’ experience in telecom, mobile and cable. He has global product marketing, market intelligence, media and analyst relations responsibility for the Adtran end-to-end fiber broadband portfolio. Responsibility includes evangelizing the operator benefits of modern open and disaggregated access architectures based on open networking and data center principles.

Ted Maulucci is A mechanical engineer, MBA and an award-winning Chief Information Officer in the Real Estate sector. Ted is a pioneer and a visionary who has created the concept of Smart Communities. He is President, SmartONE Solutions.

Guillermo Rivas is the vice president of new business development for Cox Communications. He manages the teams responsible for building strategic relationships with developers, builders and owners of apartments, condominiums or single-family projects. In this role, he helps develop programs for the builder community to maximize the return of their investment through Cox’s advanced fiber to the home network, Pre-enabled Wi-Fi, Managed Wi-Fi and IoT network solutions that improve the Resident experience.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook.

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Autonomous Vehicles

Transportation Expert at CES 2022: Public-Private Partnerships Critical for Autonomous Vehicles

The bottom line reason for state interest in autonomous vehicles is safety, says Utah transportation official.

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Photo of Blaine Leonard by Jeffrey D. Allred of the Deseret News

LAS VEGAS, January 5, 2022 – Public-private partnerships are the key to realizing the future of smart cities, a transportation expert said at the CES2022 technology trade show here on Wednesday.

To make cities and transportation truly “smart,” industry stakeholders must ensure that technologies enabling autonomous vehicles are fast and ubiquitously deployed.

Blaine Leonard, transportation technology engineer for Utah’s department of transportation, said at a session on “Smart Cities and Transportation” that public safety was his office’s top priority when working to connect autonomous vehicles to physical infrastructure.

“As a state agency, people often ask us why we are interested in automated vehicles, and the bottom line is safety,” he said.

“We lost 40,000 people to car crashes in 2020,” noting how 97% of all crashes are caused in part by human error.  “As an agency, our focus is zero –– we want to get to zero fatalities.”

Leonard discussed how low latency and data speeds are critical to connecting vehicles to traffic systems. “From a state agency perspective, if we’re going to prevent crashes, we need that millisecond advantage.”

However, he stressed that harder-to-reach places may have to wait longer for these services. “That technology is important,” he said. “How quickly it’ll be here depends on where you are.”

While industry leaders push for faster deployment, Leonard says “It’ll take a number of years, maybe even a decade or two, to update all traffic systems” across the country.

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Smart Cities

FCC Asks for Public Comment on Spectrum for Internet of Things

Internet of Things devices are expected to increasingly flood the market as 5G networks light up.

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Illustration about the Internet of Things by Pete Linforth used with permission

WASHINGTON, October 8, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment on spectrum allocation for the Internet of Things, or devices that are connected to the internet.

In its Notice of Inquiry released September 30, the agency seeks comments that “consider and evaluate various related factors” that will hinder the growth of IoT, including “barriers that may hinder the provision of spectrum needed to support uses relating to the IoT” and the role that unlicensed and licensed spectrum plays in the growth of IoT.

The IoT broadly refers to network-connected devices that can collect and transfer data. The number of IoT devices has grown over the past few years. Experts expect this number to continue rising as more households and industries use IoT technologies and as the connectivity-dense next-generation 5G networks facilitate more connections.

According to the FCC, a large amount of spectrum has been licensed using a flexible-use approach that allowed licensees to develop technologies and services according to consumer demand since the 1990s. The FCC asks whether the licensed spectrum made available or “will be available in the future is adequate to support the needs of the IoT.” The commission also asks whether there are spectrum rules that could be modified to facilitate greater spectrum access for IoT deployments.

In a statement, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the the Internet of Things is “transforming our way of life.”  While reaffirming his commitment to addressing the digital divide and internet inequality, the FCC noted that “many Americans will not realize the benefits of IoT; until broadband service is available and affordable to everyone, those without broadband will be left behind during the IoT revolution.”

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued a separate statement emphasizing that although the possibilities for IoT have yet to be fully developed, “[i]t’s still early days in the Internet of Things.” The Chairwoman remarked that because 5G wireless systems and low-orbiting satellites “expand the availability of high speed and high-capacity networks, we can expect the pace of innovation to increase” but that the FCC should allocate adequate spectrum for this purpose.

The FCC seeks comment on these issues as directed by Congress in the William Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act. The Act directed the FCC to inquire into the spectrum required to support IoT growth. This comes as the FCC begins auctioning 3.45 GigaHertz mid-band spectrum this week for licenses for 5G use.

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