Technology of tomorrow on display at Smart Cities Conference

Smart Cities Conference (KXAN photo/Jorge Rodas)
Smart Cities Conference (KXAN photo/Jorge Rodas)

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  The 2017 Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo, coinciding with the U.S. Ignite Application Summit, is underway. Companies from all over the world are showing off their latest technology while city leaders from throughout the country discuss ways to use that tech in their towns.

“It’s about connecting the dots – how do we connect these technologies to needs that people have,” said Austin’s Chief Innovation Officer Kerry O’Connor.

What’s caught her eye is the potential for kiosks throughout the city that give you more than just basic info about the city. For instance, she envisions life made easier through kiosks that have real time updates on concerts, based on the type of music you like, all with a few swipes on a giant screen.

“It’s immediate,” she said. “You get to see that it’s around the corner, to the left and it’s directing you right to the venue in real time.”

O’Connor said it’s applications like these that can enhance the overall city experience.

Joe Kochan said that can only happen if a city investing in these kinds of technology also invests in a stronger, more reliable network.

“There’s sort of a rising tide lifts all boats element where everybody benefits. More access to more networks, more applications that run on those networks,” said Kochan, the COO of U.S. Ignite.

O’Connor says coming up with new ideas is the easy part. Getting these kiosks on Austin’s sidewalks is a much longer process. She’s hoping there could be one tested in downtown one day soon, but right now there’s no timeline for when.

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