From Eyesore to Innovation

Smart Cities Benefit from Vision and Persistence

When city leaders get clear about vision, people get to work. That was the case in New York when Mayor DeBlasio issued the challenge to redesign the thousands of abandoned phone booths that dotted the five boroughs.  What began as a design challenge resulted in a team that ultimately created Civiq, a company builds “hyper-connected Smartscapes.”

There are approximately 500 connected wireless kiosks located in high-density areas that display city information along with advertisements. Starting in New York City with the support of the elected leadership is quite a feat.  But what’s next?

Civiq has been on a roadshow talking with cities across the U.S. and focused on the seven finalists of the Smart City Challenge announced back in June. As I’ve learned from other companies who hope to expand their single-city product or service to other municipalities across the US, this is where it gets interesting. 

Each city has their own regulatory roadmap that is implemented by a maze of how city departments implement and execute new projects. For Civiq, there are two main integration points that need to be worked out before they can “go live” in a new city: (1) location on city sidewalks (2) integration to broadband infrastructure.

The need to navigate these two areas is becoming more common for companies large and small. Cities are working furiously to identify every piece of “street furniture,” such as light poles, (link) that can accommodate technology such as small cells to boost network capacity as citizens demand greater mobile broadband connectivity.

This emphasizes the need for cities to prioritize the creation of a roadmap of their broadband and wireless broadband infrastructure, providing much-needed clarity for private sector companies, like Civiq. This kind of clarity means greater and more seamless integration of innovations that create real and needed solutions for citizens and visitors.