A 113-year-old building in Albany, N.Y., is being transformed into a smart city research hub.
What once served as the city's center for train transportation soon will house companies that are developing technologies for cities in the future.
Smart city technologies include those that make cities safer, more efficient and resilient: smart devices and sensors; and software that monitors and improves traffic flow, protects vital infrastructure (bridges, data centers, utility installations) and safeguards facilities such as wastewater treatment plants.
Besides being a hub for research, the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center in Albany will provide education and training. Many of its workforce training programs will benefit young people from urban environments and communities whose citizens traditionally are underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the center said.
The $30 million public/private initiative is led by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. It's a priority for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Capital Region Economic Development Council, which is working to establish the state as a global leader in this emerging high-tech industry.
Since its inception in 2004, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has gained international recognition as the first college devoted to nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics. More than 3,100 scientists, engineers and students work there, along with many companies such as IBM, Intel, Samsung and Toshiba.
Another initiative by the Capital Region Economic Development Council, finalized in July, will turn a former Kodak building into the Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility. There, solar PV companies and researchers will have a place to develop prototype products and new manufacturing processes. It's part of a $100 million initiative to attract solar jobs and companies to the Greater Rochester Area.
Among other smart city initiatives around the country, San Diego's smart city public-private collaboration aims to increase its energy independence, while encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles.
In Austria, Siemens and partners are creating a living lab that tests designs and systems for intelligent cities of the future.
Japan is also actively developing smart cities, and the City Protocol Society is developing a full-fledged certification for smart cities based on best practices being developed around the world.