Louisville mayor Greg Fischer discusses smart cities at CES 2017
I'm Rich Brown, executive editor for Smart Home Appliances.
CNet bought a house in Louisville, Kentucky, and turned it into a living lab to test the latest, greatest smart home gadgets.
CNet also leases an apartment in downtown Louisville one floor above a city sponsored hacker space called Louis Lab.
With me to talk more about Louisville's effort and smart technology is the mayor of Louisville, Mr. Greg Fisher.
Mayor Fisher, thank you for joining us here today.
Good to be with you, Rich.
So I wonder if you can talk a little bit about the evolution of the city of Louisville's sort of interest in Smart City, which is really kinda what this is, right?
And how the [UNKNOWN] lab came to be.
A lot of buzz obviously about smart cities and smart homes.
We're interested in what's the intersection of those so we can make our citizen's life easier.
So when people talk about smart homes frequently they think about the consumer aspect of that.
And we don't really look at our people as consumers.
We look at them as citizens.
So how can we meld that world of smart city, which is open data that's out there for everybody to All information from the weather, policing, traffic.
How do you integrate that into a smart apartment or smart home to make our citizen's life easier?
And also we have what we call citizen's signs.
How do we involve our citizens so we can crowdsource data from them to make a smarter city as well?
So the city has some, I believe the city has some air quality sensors, for example, distributed around that we know pull in data, and we've had that in the apartment, actually tied into a light bulb there, so if the air quality goes bad, the color will change the light, pardon me, the light will change color so that you kind of get an indicator, maybe you can do something about it if you have an air quality issue Are there other, are there other elements of smart city and sort of data gathering that you are particularly interested in, in Louisville or just in general?
Well take an example, let's say you're a commuter, you want to know how things are going to be on your drive into work
And we have a partnership with ways so we know what our traffic data's like at all times, as well.
Obviously, our weather conditions, we know what that is.
We have cities paid for that.
So we've worked with Alexa and others to create an agnostics app so that you can say what if This is going on, and so let's say I'm going to work, and I'll say traffic's fine, weather's fine, so we want to make sure there's no weather issues, so it just helps me plan how I can get to work easier.
So I wonder if you can talk to some of the challenges particular to smart city data gathering, getting that information out to residents, how you work across
Well, there's been such an interest in smart cities, especially open data, and we've done a lot of experiments with what we call citizen scientists, so the air quality, as an example of that.
When the Ohio River Valley air quality is not as good in other areas.
So if you have asthma, it's a problem.
Got a thousand citizens that are volunteers, where their asthma inhalers have a GPS on it so we know where episodes are taking place.
So we can have identified the hot spots in our city.
So we can mitigate those hot spots with either changing traffic patterns, or vegetative medicine
And then we can do one-to-one health interventions as well.
So the more platforms we create like that where people can get involved, we find very good, not just for quality of life enhancements, but also then in building trust between citizens and their government.
So the more we can do to reach out to people to ask them to be part of a smart city environment, we find that people are very willing To participate in that.
Our hacker community, our maker community love for us to throw challenges to them as well and they really come through with a lot of solutions.
So that's interesting, the whole idea of crossing over from government to independent citizens, maybe private businesses helping to see the smart city idea come to fruition.
How has the interaction been with the business community in getting things off the ground here?
Well, it's been great with I call the entrepreneurial community.
So let me give you an example of that.
We wanna increase fire safety like every city as well does, and then we had a vacant abandoned property situation.
Those were two different silos but when those groups got together and looked at their data together, they said, we've got an issue where if there's a fire at a vacant property, that can be a danger obviously to adjoining properties.
But it takes longer for a fire alert to be called into the fire department if the property is vacant.
Our maker community looked at that and said, well, what if we had a low cost fire alarm that could notify the Fire Department?
And they said that can't be done.
It'd cost $1,000 for the fire detector, you have to have power to the house.
these homes are abandoned.
Our maker community said well, what if we make something that's solar powered?
That is actually listening to a $15 smoke detector device build a modem into that and then off it goes to the fire department and also shoots a signal up to the web as well.
So for less than $50 these makers entrepreneurs created a company now that has a first of its kind for a low dollar smoke detector for vacant properties that makes our city safer.
Is there a political element or a partisanship element that has come to play in any of the smart city, in any of this really?
Well I hadn't heard that before.
But we are in uncharted political waters.
We are aren't we?
So it's just a matter of time I'm sure.
I would imagine so.
So, I wonder if you speak to anything specific to the LouieLab which is sort of a brand new office, right?
So, what are you hoping will come out of that in particular?
Well, I think what's interesting about that is when you show the power of public, private partnerships so
We created a innovation center with General Electric Appliances, University of Louisville called FirstBuild Community, so it's a co-located innovation space microfactory.
When we learned that you guys had a smart home in Louisville and we started working together around that we said, what about the folks that are renting?
So we were developing something called Louie Lab where we were colocating our performance improvement and innovation professionals were known in the country as the most innovative city as it comes to civic innovation.
And you guys said, hey what about a smart apartment.
Why don't we colocate that?
So you're one story above our Louis lab space, so we worked together in that regard.
So that's really where we see the partnership of opportunity.
See that in this case, GE appliances, and the others, working with our healthcare communities for different opportunities as well.
And all the time we're trying to bring citizens into this loop.
Because if we can enhance the quality of life of a citizen, what that does is broker trust between citizen and government.
That's something these days is being sorely tested.
Are you looking into other cities and what they are doing?
Are there any cities you feel are doing smart cities particularly well right now?
Well a lot of people are talking about smart city applications, so
You know, it could be policing, it could be traffic.
It could be a lot of stuff that we're talking about.
Our sweet spot as a city is that we're big enough to be internationally relevant, but we're small enough to get things done.
Our metro area is about 1.4 million people.
So what we're interested in is enhancing that citizen experience and bridging that world between the home and the city.
And have people look at really, their home and in an expanded sense the city is your home.
How do you bring all this data together and let it talk to you either in the home, in your car, or on your device.
So that you are totally informed about what your options are and hence your quality of life.
It could be entertainment, it could be safety, it could be traffic, it could be a variety of things.
All right, may I appreciate that, thank you for being with us today,
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