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Smart City Market Growing In The Tri-State

dayton oregon district
John Minchillo
Cincinnati Bell says while each city is different, the process is similar: build a foundation of fiber and wifi, then prioritize and implement the Smart City technologies critical to the progress of a city, such as Dayton's Oregon District.

By mid-summer, Dayton, Ohio's Oregon District and the city of Middletown will be the latest to go online as "smart cities," or technology that uses interconnected sensors to gather information, manage assets and improve operations.

Cincinnati Bell's Smart Cities Program Manager John Putnam told participants in Tuesday's Eggs 'N Issues Northern Kentucky Chamber event that Covington in Kentucky and Wyoming and Fairborn in Ohio are already online as smart cities. Work continues with Dayton, Ky., Ludlow and Loveland as they implement Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. The U.S. 27 Smart Corridor is also in the planning stages.

Think: traffic signals that react to real-time traffic, interconnected cameras that could help catch criminals and an app showing available parking spaces. These are some examples from Cincinnati Bell.

President of the Campbell County Economic Progress Authority Will Weber says build it and businesses will come. "If you can create a smart city that is creating services that are tech enabled, intuitive people want to live there. it certainly helps the marketing when you try to bring in those businesses."

He's working with communities along the U.S. 27 Smart Corridor who are applying for grants collectively.

Cost is one of the most prohibitive factors.

Another thing communities have to think through is how to use the information so it doesn't violate people's privacy.

Ft. Mitchell Police Chief Andrew Schierberg likes the idea of catching criminals using license plate readers. "We have to balance that with privacy concerns but if it's a very targeted use of that data, I think that's a good thing," he says.

Quick implementation of Smart City technology could also help with COVID-19 protocol. According to Bell's Putnam, "So we have this great communication and engagement tool to inform people where we are in the process, what phase we're in and what does that mean for them. We're creating smart parking lots where we can cue people for picking up their food."

Cincinnati Bell is also trying to help solve a digital divide and is working with public housing in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, to install the infrastructure.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.