The road to rebuilding America’s Infrastructure is long and winding, and despite promises from the current President, the US Congress and Senate, the World Economic Forum ranks the United States 10th internationally in terms of quality of overall infrastructure.
We have all heard the stories about tens of thousands of bridges past their useful lifespan, highways that need to be rebuilt, inland waterways that are neglected, drinking water and wastewater systems that cause public safety issues.
Problems in the US are getting worse; a White House report says urban drivers spending an estimated 6.9 billion hours stuck in traffic, costing an estimated $160 billion in wasted time and fuel.
A study from the Value of Water Campaign found that if a water-reliant business, such as a brewery or a auto manufacturer, loses water service the company could lose up to $5,800 per employee per day. ASCE also found that more than $1.3 trillion in property lies in the path of under-maintained aging levees, dams, and other critical infrastructure, putting whole communities at risk. This risk has increased exponentially when factoring the surge in urbanization.
Our nation’s infrastructure has been in a slow-motion decline for decades now. Groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers have been trying to ring the alarm bell, releasing a national Infrastructure Report Card filled with D’s to let us know our infrastructure is failing – and to warn us that every day we wait, repairs become more expensive and Americans pay the cost – in lost productivity, higher costs of living and goods, and time spent sitting in traffic instead of working or being home with our families.
So how can the IoT advance modern infrastructure? As Infrastructure Week highlights the need for better physical infrastructure, the team at Smart City Works, an “actuator” and accelerator focused on the advancement of connected cities is hosting a one-day seminar at the intersection of the built and digital worlds.
“Repairing and upgrading water systems, ports, airports, highways, the power grid, and broadband is what Americans want,” said Bob Mazer, one of the co-founders of Smart City Works. “Gallup polling has shown consistently that this is one of the most popular, least politically controversial topics for the federal government to address. Our message on May 15 in our Nation’s capital is that we can improve physical infrastructure with connected technologies, that make it easier to monitor, manage and optimize investments in new builds.”
Mazer says taking a holistic view of what it means to create smart infrastructure will also lead to more jobs and innovation in the US.
“Our speakers will share many use cases where the building of a new bridge, for example, can be enhanced with sensors that measure traffic volume, road vibrations, and which also measure air quality. Sensors installed as part of that new bridge can scan for potential terrorist threats and enable monitoring less expensively and more effectively than traditional methods,” Greg Sauter, another Smart City Works Founder said.
The seminar will also bring together leaders from the public and private sector to discuss how Smart Cities can be financed in new ways, particularly when technology is baked into physical infrastructure builds.
Speakers at the event include:
Following the seminar, companies who are part of the Smart City Works acceleration program will network with attendees.
The event sold out quickly, but the Smart City Works organization plans to repeat the event in 2019, and expand to other cities in the US.
“We chose Washington, DC as our first event collaborating with the Infrastructure Week team,” Mazer said. “We’re thrilled by the response, and are planning to sponsor much bigger events next year.”
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