Entrepreneur to Mayors' Summit: Use Your Data to Fuel Smarter Cities

Chris Rezendes, founder of ImpactLABS, encouraged attendees of a two-day United States Conference of Mayors summit to take control of their data and use it to create smarter cities.

by Jennette Barnes, The Standard-Times / September 15, 2017

(TNS) -- NEW BEDFORD — Put Big Data to work for you, entrepreneur Chris Rezendes told city mayors from the northeast and several other states on Thursday.

About 15 mayors gathered in New Bedford, Mass., for a two-day summit sponsored by the Energy Policy Committee of The United States Conference of Mayors. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell chairs the committee.

Rezendes, founder of New Bedford-based IoT ImpactLABS, said the planet is moving toward using digital data to monitor all kinds of things, including local natural resources. This data isn't going to be free, he said.

"This data is an asset, to be exploited, to be shared, to be traded, to be sold," he said. "It is not to be given away. It is too valuable."

During the drought last summer, a few small businesses in southeastern Massachusetts shut down because of lack of water, he said.

Rezendes said Bristol County has only one publicly funded groundwater monitoring well, yet the combined economic impact of food production — including agriculture, aquaculture, commercial fishing, and more — is nearly $15 billion for the state of Massachusetts. The majority of that production depends on clean water.

He said his company has installed sensors in a four-square-mile area in South Dartmouth. The company paid for the first 10 sensors on private wells, and now has 50 properties monitoring water levels in real time.

This is Big Data, but filtered, he said. It gets filtered and filtered again until it becomes small data that can help make policy, economic, or financial decisions.

"This is where the planet is going, stitching together public and private data about natural resources, infrastructure, and private entities that must register certain assets," he said.

Imagine, he told the mayors, what could happen to their insurance rates and cost to borrow money when they can use data to prove their cities are a low risk.

The theme of the mayors' summit was "How Mayors Are Using New Energy Technologies and Partnerships to Power Smart Cities."

Sessions featured case studies and presentations on the growth of "smart" cities, business partnerships, energy infrastructure, and energy assurance and preparedness.

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