Smart City abilities
Among the abilities of a Smart City are:
- Relieving traffic congestion with sensors buried in roads that alter the timing of traffic lights to smooth the flow of traffic.
- Sensors in buildings detect whether there are structural, electrical or other problems so they can be fixed before they break down.
- School systems collect data on individual students, including attendance, grades and disciplinary actions, so teaching strategies can be tweaked to improve students’ grades and test scores, as well as helping those at risk of dropping out.
- City governments can share information across the various departments to better coordinate services, including parking and garbage pickup.
Two UTC professors recently traveled to the south of Spain.
They weren’t on a beach, sipping cool drinks and soaking up the sun.
Drs. Mina Sartipi and Daniel Loveless from the College of Engineering and Computer Science are in Cadiz, Spain, led workshops on the Smart Cities concept that Chattanooga has pioneered.
The workshops, held at the University of Cadiz’s College of Engineering, were attended by local politicians and faculty and students at the university, says Joanne Romagni, vice chancellor for research at UTC and dean of the Graduate School who’s also in Cadiz.
“They each spoke on the research activities related to the Smart Cities at the university level,” she says. “This is the first opportunity to begin a larger collaboration in building a collection of Smart Cities here in the south of Spain.”
Sartipi is a UC Foundation professor in computer science and engineering, while Loveless is a UC Foundation assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Sartipi leads the Urban Science and Technology program at both UTC and the SIM Center. She collaborates with different departments at the university as well as local municipalities on Smart City projects.
Loveless also is involved with Smart City project, especially when it comes to energy issues.
In 2010, EPB led the charge to create the first city-wide gigabit internet in the Western Hemisphere. It now has America’s fastest internet and earned the nickname Gig City because of it. The city is developing services and applications that take advantage of the system’s gigabit-per-second capabilities.
The University of Cadiz “is really interested in what we are doing in Chattanooga and want to align areas of expertise in this (smart Cities/smart grid) and other areas, including aerospace and defense and energy and the environment,” Romagni says.
“The primary telecommunications firm, Telefonica, is interested in collaborating with the city of Cadiz and UCA to create a smart zone here in the Bay (Cadiz, San Fernando, Puerto Real, and El Puerto de Santa Maria) area,” she adds.
Across the country, 15 Smart Cities are tapping the potential uses of rapid-fire internet. Each city is developing at least two gigabit-capable public services then sharing them with other cities in the program.
“Chattanooga was definitely the pioneer in this space, but there are more players and more opportunities every day for using gigabit speed,” Ken Hays, president of the Enterprise Center in Chattanooga, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Five or six years ago, people were asking what you would ever do with the gig. Now people want to know when they can get it. The next generation of the internet is starting to take shape,” he said.
Romagni says UTC wants to tell graduate students — both in the United States and abroad — that the school has many opportunities to learn more and be a part of the Smart Cities projects.
And the news is getting out.
“Two students have already approached Mina for our graduate program,” Romagni says, “but we are also looking for collaboration among universities. There are many opportunities that we can work together.
“The city of Cadiz and the university of Cadiz are looking to see how they can learn from UTC and develop a close relationship with the community to implant similar Smart City activities here at Spain.
“Our faculty are interested in joining that collaboration.”