Hundreds of government tech officials, entrepreneurs and others who might geek-out at the sound of “smart cities” or “fiber network” are gathering in Kansas City, Mo., this week for the third annual Gigabit City Summit.
The event, being held Aug. 1-3, is set to attract some 300 to 350 attendees including public-sector CIOs, entrepreneurs and technology professionals in the private sector. The event will also attract attendance from those outside of the “smart city” infrastructure communities — people who are “focused on human impact; people from health care, education, and the like,” said Aaron Deacon, one of the event's organizers and managing director of KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit civic organization with a mission to make Kansas City a digital leader.
The conference will drive conversations around some of today’s most pressing digital city concerns, stretching from data and privacy related to the Internet of Things to learning about initiatives like the KC Connector Project, which links together the many people in Kansas City who are involved in community development.
The summit will also include panel discussions around such topics as navigating the complex municipal and county challenges related to deploying technology such as fiber networks, or how city leaders draw from their real-world experiences to create holistic strategic plans for digital systems and technology.
“Our hope is that through that conference ... other cities, entrepreneurs, the big companies will avail themselves of the opportunity to come to think big,” said Chief Innovation Officer Bob Bennett in an interview with Government Technology earlier this month.
The event will also showcase the Kansas City Living Lab, a public-private partnership between Kansas City and Cisco Systems that seeks to develop a “smart city” network with Internet of Things technology along the 2.2-mile streetcar starter line in downtown and ultimately modernize the city, lower costs and improve efficiencies. The project, begun in 2014, aims to make Kansas City the largest smart city network in North America.
Think Big Partners, which is the Living Lab host, is both a tech business development center and the architect behind Kansas City’s smart city master plan. The lab will be a stop on the smart city walking tour, which also will include stops at interactive kiosks, the (free) Kansas City Streetcar Line, and the River Market.