Keeping People at the Center of Smart Cities Tech
Jim Saber, President & CEO
On behalf of all of us at NextEnergy, we wish all of you a happy holiday season! This has been an exciting year of transition for us, including the evolution of the NextEnergy brand (look for more to come on that in the new year) and a refined mission focused on delivering smarter, cleaner and more accessible solutions for communities and cities through our work in the areas of smart mobility and smart grid.
In that spirit, I want to take this opportunity to tell you about some of our recent activities and events, what we’ve learned, and why we think it matters.
New York – Inclusive Innovation for Smart Cities with CivLab (a New York based inclusive technology accelerator): We participated in roundtable discussions with city leaders, citizens and industry focused on how to use smart city mobility technologies to meet the needs of disabled and low income populations. It was a great opportunity to learn from New York’s experiences with smart cities technology and their process for community and stakeholder engagement.
Sacramento – Meeting of the Minds: I had the opportunity to participate in the Meeting of the Minds 2018 program in California which focused on a series of topics including: energy, transportation, talent, and equity. The program provided an opportunity to hear from thought leaders and participate in roundtable discussions with others working to improve our cities and communities. I was also able to interact with a number of pilots and programs in Sacramento that are addressing some of the most pressing issues facing our cities today. One standout was an EV car sharing program providing additional mobility for senior citizens and lower to moderate income residents throughout the city, where we had the opportunity to meet with both the operator and the end-users.
Detroit – PlanetM Pilot Grant Event: NextEnergy has been supporting PlanetM with their Mobility Startup Pilot Grant program as the technical program manager. The first phase of pilots are building out new use cases and value in a smarter and more connected world. From providing additional safety for first responders, to real time road conditions which provide data to planners on preventative maintenance and future repair of roads, the pilots are accelerating partnerships and providing opportunities to understand their impact on the future of mobility.
Aside from learning about and witnessing all of the new and innovative ways to leverage the most exciting smart cities technologies, the biggest takeaway from these recent activities is the common thread that runs through all of them: people. It’s people that need to remain at the center of the connected world and, as an organization focused on accelerating innovation, it is our mission to make sure these new technologies not only find a successful path to commercialization, but provide value to all citizens. Whether it’s giving independence back to seniors and the disabled, providing affordable and convenient access to low and moderate income citizens, or giving planners and other municipal leaders the tools they need to ensure a vital and thriving city for generations to come, the true measure of success for us, and for both the startup and established technology developers with whom we partner, is an increased quality of life for all citizens.
This common thread is what informs our mission and we invite you to reach out in the new year to learn more about how we can help your organization find success and make a difference.
We wish you all the best in 2019 and hope you will continue to engage with us as we tell our new story and share our vision for a smarter, cleaner and more accessible future. We would love for you to be part of it.