Articles

Stark County, Ohio, Poised to See its First Smart City

Plans for "Hall of Fame Village" include a luxury hotel, a stadium, an upgraded museum, a virtual reality amusement area and much more.

by Alison Matas, The Repository, Canton, Ohio / April 6, 2017

(TNS) — CANTON — Stark County, Ohio, is poised to see its first smart city with the opening of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village.

The development — scheduled to be finished in 2019 — will include technology from Johnson Controls that will make the buildings consume energy and other utilities more efficiently and also connect the buildings' inner workings so they operate cooperatively on a single system. The one-of-a-kind smart sports and entertainment campus is expected to become a showpiece Johnson Controls will share with clients from around the world.

Kim Metcalf-Kupres, vice president and chief marketing officer for Johnson Controls, has said that while the building efficiency and automotive battery company has done large-scale projects before, many have been for government or educational campuses where the buildings largely serve the same purpose.

At the Village, however, plans include a luxury hotel, a stadium, an upgraded museum, a virtual reality amusement area, an assisted living facility, a sports research and medical center, retail and restaurants, an indoor sports facility, and a youth sports complex.

The technology package for the first phase of construction already is contracted.

David Baker, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has said he anticipates the Village will be "the most technologically proficient and advanced entertainment and sports community in the world."

What is a smart city?

A smart city is a series of smart buildings and smart infrastructure in one place. Technology is inter-connected and works to develop energy — and other — efficiencies.

At the Johnson Controls operational headquarters in Milwaukee — a smart building — the goal is to have a sustainable facility that's comfortable for employees. The shades on the windows track the movement of the sun and then adjust accordingly. The overhead lights dim as more natural light is allowed into the rooms, which saves on energy costs. Employees control the temperature within their cubicles using small fans and radiant heat panels. Security cameras capture the faces of people entering and exiting the company's offices across the world, and their employee badges pop up on a monitoring screen as people come and go. And all of the building's systems can be viewed and controlled remotely through the use of a mobile device.

At the Village, plans for smart technology include those related to heating and cooling, fire and security, and the fan experience and scoreboard, plus the same building- and campus-wide operating system seen at the company's Milwaukee office.

In Louisville, Ky., Johnson Controls handled nearly $27 million in upgrade and repairs across government buildings for free, using something called a performance contract. The city will pay back the company using the savings it sees from utility bills. If it doesn't save the full amount, Johnson Controls will eat the cost. It's a model they like using for public projects, company officials have said, because it doesn't require any public funding, such as raised taxes.

When Johnson Controls Chairman and CEO Alex Molinaroli came to Canton last month, he said during his speech at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce dinner that he already had begun conversations with government officials here about projects that could support them.

"We're going to be with the folks of Canton," he said.

©2017 The Repository, Canton, Ohio Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.