Kansas City Set to Be One of the First Smart Cities

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When people think about the Internet of Things (IoT), technology like wearable fitness devices and network-connected light bulbs usually come to mind. However, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to the possibilities of an IoT world and Kansas City could be one of the first cities to incorporate the IoT to become a “smart city.”

The past several years have marked a revolution in Kansas City’s technology industry. One of the catalysts for this revolution was Kansas City’s role as a test market for Google Fiber in 2012. According to Wired, the service saw success and Google took the platform nationwide. Since then, Kansas City has become a hub for tech startup companies and entrepreneurs. According to The Verge, “smart” streetlights that automatically dim when no one is standing under them, public WiFi kiosks and the $100 million streetcar project were all implemented with the goal of recognizing the city’s commitment to smart city principles. These factors, along with innovative and forward-thinking leadership, set the stage for the possibility of an IoT-powered smart city.

What are the possibilities for a smart city? According to Startland News, the use of drones could provide life saving measures. Tech entrepreneur Joshua Montgomery paints a picture of what this could look like in action: A man starts experiencing chest pains and collapses to the ground. Onlookers quickly dial 911 and dispatchers send an ambulance, but the nearest unit is more than 15 minutes away. In this scenario, 15 minutes is too long and time is of the essence. So, dispatchers send a drone carrying an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the scene, which the 911 caller removes from the cargo compartment. Dispatchers then explain to the caller the process of connecting the AED to the victim. Montgomery adds, “Total time between the victim’s heart attack and help arriving? Four minutes. IoT saves his life.”

Why does Kansas City have what it takes to implement an IoT-powered community? According to Montgomery, “Kansas City has the willingness to take risk. It has leadership that is committed to leading the adoption of new technology, tying together legacy systems and integrating them for the benefit of our community.”

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