Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Resilient Cites: Orlando's Most Exciting Ride

By Shrey Fadia

Siemens featured Orlando in their their flagship U.S. technology and innovation conference held recently in Orlando (Spotlight on Innovation 2019), and for good reason!

"We want to become the world’s most intelligent, interconnected and efficient city,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said previously. “We want to become a showcase city for smart city technology."

Orlando is spending $15 billion on infrastructure, including rebuilding Interstate 4 and expanding its airport and seaport.

Orlando has established a Smart Cities Steering Committee, which identified key priorities including:

  • Use of smart grid technologies to support the city’s long-term, 100% renewable energy goals
  • Application of energy models to identify most cost-effective building retrofit opportunities
  • Intersection monitoring and predictive analytics to enhance pedestrian and bike safety
  • Enhanced use of open data and data sharing across city departments

Siemens is a technology partner in enabling not just a “smart” but a “sustainably smart” Orlando, by powering part of the city’s ability to use information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability, sustainability and resilience.

Over the course of the past year, using Siemens City Performance Tool, the City of Orlando’s Office of Sustainability & Resilience and Office of Smart Cities, Orlando Utilities Commission and Siemens have worked together to analyze what infrastructure technologies are needed in order to achieve the Orlando’s 2040 sustainability goals.

Key findings of this exercise will now become an important tool to help Orlando’s city planners leverage technology in the areas of renewable energy, transportation and building technology in order to meet the ambitious 90 x 2040 goal. Orlando now joins the ranks of cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Charlotte, and many others that have leveraged the Siemens virtual city tool as they plan for making these commitments a reality.

“What this tool makes clear are a few things. One, there is no one size fits all approach to reducing GHG emissions. Every city is unique, and the approach will need to be as well. Second, this is a bold task that requires significant planning, investment and commitment from the region. And finally, given the breadth of what needs to be done, no city can meet this type of ambitious goal without the right technologies and the willingness to collaborate.” (from a joint statement).

Mayor Dyer emphasized the impact of responsible waste water management is improving Orlando, and said “Mobility and transportation are two primary areas the city is focusing on; another is public safety, which our team talks about every day. We are constantly looking for ways to improve life here for our residents and millions of tourists each year.”

Like any serious Smart City initiative, Orlando’s programs cross many departments.

For example, in the realm of Smart Public Safety, police are using body cameras and audio recorders, IRIS cameras throughout the city to improve public safety, emergency signal priority for traffic lights, and Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) to improve response times.

Their “Orlando Open Data” initiative is increasing transparency and facilitating  economic development, including analyzing crime data in neighborhoods.

Their Commercial Food Waste Collection Program has diverted millions of pounds of food waste from landfills, and most impressively their Smart Buildings program is reaching its goal to ensure 100% city-owned buildings are high-performance green buildings, with LEED Silver certification. Funded with an initial $17.5 million municipal bond, 55 buildings (of 550) we upgraded in the first year, resulting in $2.4 million annual savings. This program is paying for itself in the long run.

With a goal of 100% LED streetlights by 2020, over 25,000 traditional lights are being retrofit, on top of the first 15,000 completed in 2017. “Smart Streetlights” in downtown are integrating LED with video surveillance technology and environmental monitoring.

When it comes to Smart Energy Generation, Orlando is looking to achieve 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 for municipal operations, and by 2050 aim to have installed  a 420 KW solar PV array, an 11 KW SEE Art Orlando array, a 30 KW Reliable Plaza array, a 6 MW Stanton Solar farm and a massive  400 KW Gardenia Community Solar Farm.

Orlando was the pioneer for in-vehicle navigation system R&D, is one of America’s most bike-friendly cities, with 30 bike share stations, 300 bikes, 42 miles of urban trails, 265 miles of bike lanes; 53 miles of signed routes, 1 mountain bike parks and more.

By 2030, the city aims to have 100% Electric Vehicle fleets for the City Hall motor pool, as well as EV buses, and is in the process of deploying 150+ EV charging stations around city.

Orlando just last week  issued an RFP to hire a consultant to develop a “comprehensive and strategic Smart City Master Plan and Roadmap,” according to the RFP.

“We are hopeful that part of this process — with the consultant — is going to help us define our vision and mission,” said Michael Hess, smart city project coordinator. “‘Smart city’ is a very broad term. So we’re really looking at this as the consultant helping us engage our local stakeholders and community and residents to help us determine what should smart city mean to us, what should our vision be, and what do we want to accomplish as a city under the definition of smart city.”

You can learn more about Orlando’s smart city efforts here.

Bringing together many of the country’s foremost industry leaders, technologists, mayors, innovators, and even a stuntman-turned-CEO, Spotlight on Innovation is a real-world look at the technologies spanning topics like the gamification of manufacturing, cyber security, city infrastructure, AI and the digital twin that are helping businesses and cities around the world unlock their potential.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Analyst & Consultant

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