Kansas City won gold in the “collected collaboration” category from the Edison Awards for its Smart City efforts.
The Edison Awards is a spin-off of the American Marketing Association and a program of the Edison Universe, a non-profit group “committed to inspiring educational institutions and supporting the business world.”
It recognized Kansas City’s “smart city” initiative that collects data, particularly along the downtown streetcar line, in an effort to better deliver services and help businesses better adjust to the ups and downs of foot traffic.
“Kansas City is deploying the most extensive coordinated suite of connective Wi-Fi technology and analytical platforms in the world to enhance the citizens’ experience and improve delivery of city services,” the Edison Award said in language that appeared to be supplied by the city. “We are expanding the system to make Kansas City the smartest city in the world within five years.”
A $15 million combination of public and private funds established the budding smart city network. The city applied for a federal grant to expand the network, but lost out in October.
In a story last fall, The Star described how “today, sensors along Kansas City’s streetcar line track how many riders, pedestrians and cars fill Main Street and its sidewalks at a given moment. Public Wi-Fi along that River Market-to-Union Station stretch detect how many users have 816 and 913 phone numbers — presumably locals — versus the number who appear to be out-of-towners. It can give a rough idea of whether an evening crowd in the corridor tilts more to millennials or baby boomers. And the free Wi-Fi notices whether the crowd consists more of regulars or newbies.
“That information helps the city decide when to brighten streetlights for crowds or dim them to save energy. It can alert police when to send more patrols, help restaurants along the line fine-tune their marketing and will eventually signal dispatchers when to deploy more buses.”
Kansas City’s website says “smart city initiatives will help the City of Kansas City use real-time data to deliver basic services more efficiently and will attract economic development & entrepreneurs.”
The latest advancement in the smart city technology allows people to track traffic, the availability of parking and the location of streetcars along the Main Street corridor in downtown.