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NIST’s GCTC Leaders and Member Cities Participate in Smart City Workshop at the Western Hemisphere Cities Summit of the Americas

NIST’s GCTC Leaders and Member Cities Participate in Smart City Workshop at the Western Hemisphere Cities Summit of the Americas

On 25 April 2023, NIST and city leaders of the NIST Global Community Technology Challenge (GCTC) led a discussion of smart technologies and best practices at the Smart City Foundations Workshop, the opening event of the Cities Summit of the Americas (CSOA) in Denver, CO. The CSOA was convened by the U.S. Department of State to bring together local and regional leaders from communities across the Western Hemisphere, including government officials, civic and business leaders, academia and student representatives, and members of the arts, indigenous communities, and cultures. Workshop participants included smart city practitioners from across the Americas who wanted to learn from each other about the foundation elements of implementing smart city solutions.

The opening panel of the workshop was led by NIST’s Michael Dunaway, leader of NIST’s smart cities and communities program, and included three city executives of GCTC member cities: Emily Royall, Smart City Administrator, San Antonio TX; Jennifer Tifft, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Syracuse NY; and Raimundo Rodulfo, Chief Technology Officer, Coral Gables FL. Each of the city representatives spoke on the planning, objectives, and process for integrating advanced technologies to achieve their individual community’s vision as a smart city.

Dunaway described the GCTC as a network of communities, industries, academia, and government partners, which jointly develops and deploys Cyber-Physical Systems and Internet of Things applications. The GCTC has twelve major working groups that coordinate city innovations in technology sectors, such as city services, transportation, energy, public safety and more. The GCTC facilitates community participation in public-private partnerships that improve the cost-effectiveness of improvements to infrastructures, services, and quality of life through information sharing and economies of scale in acquisition of advanced technologies.

Many factors driving Smart Community initiatives and adoption of CPS and IoT were common across the cities represented at the workshop and among those attending the broader CSOA:

  • Common organization-wide challenges across city departments, such as need for reliable data, systems interoperability, and ability to effectively reach residents.
  • Widespread use of data and new Internet of Things devices that pose opportunities and risks and, thus, require critical evaluation from the perspective of both public safety and public trust, before integration into public services.
  • The need for cities to address real-world problems, rather than “looking for problems to solve.”
  • Development of knowledgeable and receptive city staff who can lead the digital transformation of city service delivery essential to smart city goals.
  • After the global experience of COVID-19, community priorities have shifted towards customer service, inclusiveness, and equity, in addition to technology development and integration.

Measuring Progress: In addition to the panel session and discussion, Dunaway provided a technical overview of NIST Special Publication 1900-206 Smart Cities and Communities: A Key Performance Indicators Framework as a means for evaluating progress when pursuing smart community initiatives.

Released June 1, 2023, Updated July 14, 2023