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AZ Inno: Why the tech-driven ‘Smart City’ approach is good for Arizona business

Reposted from AZ Inno

Phoenix is one of the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas, and this growth is intertwined with the evolving relationship between technology, business, and the public sector. Private-public sector dialogues have been a driving force behind the region’s emergence as a hub for smart city development and the implementation of industry solutions.

The annual Smart City + Internet of Things (IoT) Conference, recently hosted on Sept. 19 by the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority, plays a pivotal role in fostering this collaboration.

This year’s event underscored the importance of private-public collaborations in the realm of smart cities and IoT technology. Leaders from private companies and businesses in Arizona joined forces with city officials, including Justin Fair, deputy city manager at the city of Goodyear.

Fair, a conference panelist, stressed the value of these partnerships, stating, “The biggest challenge city leaders face is keeping up with the fast pace of innovation. This is why it’s so important to collaborate with the private sector, which has resources and expertise to help city leaders implement new technologies quickly and efficiently.”

Driving economic growth

In smart cities, IoT technology plays a central role in creating more efficient and responsive communities. These cities leverage new and emerging technologies to enhance the quality of life, create sustainable practices and foster economic growth throughout the region. In our vision of smart cities, public and private sectors collaborate swiftly and effectively to address pressing issues and improve overall urban experiences.

One of the most compelling aspects of smart city technology is its potential to stimulate diverse economic opportunities that benefit residents and businesses.

IoT technologies play a crucial role in this economic transformation. Smart cities powered by IoT solutions attract businesses and residents alike with improved infrastructure, public safety and resource management. By aligning economic development with societal well-being, we create a foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.

One of the foundational principles for smart growth is digital equity, which involves ensuring that every resident has equal access to the internet and possesses the tools and skills to use it effectively. This commitment not only empowers individuals but also builds a stronger workforce by ensuring that the benefits of a smart community are accessible to all residents, promoting economic mobility and social cohesion.

How cybersecurity plays a role

In the ever-connected world of smart cities, cybersecurity is paramount. Recent cyberattacks have highlighted the vulnerabilities that come with technological advancement. To prevent this, businesses and the public sector collaborate to proactively safeguard data and systems within the IoT ecosystem.

Private companies can engage with public universities to assess vulnerabilities and preemptively address risks within IoT networks, inviting university researchers to identify potential threats and weaknesses. This proactive approach enhances cybersecurity and builds community partnerships to foster a resilient, technology-supported ecosystem.

Tim Roemer, former Arizona Homeland Security director and former CIA analyst, keynoted the conference saying, “Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. We must invest in resources to fight back against these rising cyber-attacks. We can’t let the criminals win.”

Opportunity for Arizona businesses

By aligning technology with human-centric goals, businesses in Arizona can contribute to the development of cities that prioritize the well-being of their residents. Supporting digital equity ensures a workforce equipped with essential skills, while a robust cybersecurity plan fortifies businesses against emerging threats.

By adopting this approach, Arizona businesses stand to benefit in multiple ways. This smart city vision offers a path to sustainable growth, efficient urban living and an improved quality of life for all residents. In this people-centered, technology-supported paradigm, Arizona’s future looks brighter than ever.

Dean Duncan is executive director of The Connective; Steven Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council and SciTech Institute; Kirk Busch is CEO of BigData Southwest Inc.


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