Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Coral Gable Brings Latest Tech to its Smart City Initiative

By Bill Yates

If you're in the South Florida area, there's a smart city developing right under your noses in Coral Gables. Home to the University of Miami, the city is leveraging the college's knowledge base to implement elements of the smart city into its infrastructure.  Participants in the project detailed their progress to people attending the recent Enterprise Metaverse Expo in Fort Lauderdale, part of the #TECHSUPERSHOW, which also included IoT Evolution Expo, among several other events.

Representatives from the three drivers behind the effort – city, university and vendors – explained and demonstrated their portions of the project. The current phase of the project involves developing a remote video inspection protocol for use by city inspectors.

Mark Herbert, GIS lab manager, came from the City of Coral Gables government. Sara and Avi Rushineck, professors at the University of Miami, told their story. Kristen Naeini, director of training at Real Wear, and Denise Mendez, principal engineer at Microsoft, were on hand to demonstrate how their headgear products work.

"Welcome to the metaverse," said Sara Rushineck. As she spoke, Sara and her husband wore video headgear to demonstrate how the technology works. Their views of the audience through the headgear were beamed to a screen behind the panelists.

Sara Rushineck teaches business technology and healthcare informatics at the university. She's a business and technology advisor to the city of Coral Gables. As for the headgear, "we're trying out products but we don't have any vested interest," she said.

Coral Gables, for its part, is well on the way to becoming a smart city. They've already mapped the entire city using 2D LiDAR technology. Staff working for Herbert now are adding the topographical information needed to turn the map into a three-dimensional view.

The city also has deployed a series of "smart poles" in the city. Standing about eight-feet high, the metal poles have space near the top for mounting data-gathering devices. Each pole can rotate to develop new angles, so that one pole can cover a wide area, Herbert said.

"We've placed IoT devices throughout the city," Herbert said. "The idea is to deploy a number of these poles throughout the city to provide data."

Once they've collected the data, the city plans to collapse the data set into useful segments. "We want to develop an actionable set of information," he said. Data requires context to make it useful to the city, he said.

Now they're investigating the use of headgear to improve inspections. Herbert is testing whether the application of software controlled by artificial intelligence can help resolve issues more quickly.

Repairmen will wear the headsets while performing inspections. Displayed within the headset are specific repair instructions, along with schematics and other data. Everything repairmen need to perform their jobs is located in the knowledge base that flashes for them to read.

"They can do their job simply by looking down," Herbert said.

Avi Rushinek offered another scenario for the headgear. He said new coding regulations mean air conditioning units atop apartment buildings must be inspected regularly. Using headgear, a low-level associate could record the condition of the units for further inspection by a trained repair person in the home office.

Herbert says he embraces the freedom the new technology could bring. "Take my job," he said. "I want to be replaced. I want my free time back."

Edited by Erik Linask
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Communications Correspondent

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