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Las Vegas Uses Smart Network to Monitor Park Activity

Las Vegas has entered into a partnership with Cox Communications to set up a “managed private network” in a public park. The system uses video surveillance, sensors and other technology to evaluate park activity.

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The city of Las Vegas from the air.
Shutterstock/Losonsky
Rather than having city staff regularly monitor the goings-on in a Las Vegas park, officials are having technology watch for them.

The city is partnering with Cox Communications on a new pilot project to deploy video cameras and radar sensors in Baker Park to gather data related to usage, parking lot activity and other real-time feedback from the park.

The project “aims to provide data to help park leaders understand how the park is utilized and the condition of the park,” said Michael Sherwood, chief technology director for Las Vegas. “Additionally, the pilot will provide law enforcement with enhanced capabilities to ensure the safety of the public.”

No personal identifying information will be collected, and sensitive data will be encrypted to protect the privacy of park users, say officials.

Sherwood first hinted at the project a year ago during the Dell Technologies World conference. The project is operating as a “managed private network,” which will use Cox sensing and camera technology while the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) will provide the communications technology which allows devices to transmit information, Sherwood explained.

“Cox Communications has been a long-standing partner with the city on many technology initiatives and is providing their expertise in machine communications and Internet of Things (IoT) in delivering a solution which will provide the city with actionable and relative information and a model that other cities can follow,” said Sherwood in an email.

Las Vegas is no stranger to urban tech. It has partnered with numerous tech companies like Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corp., Waycare, INRIX, SenSen Networks and others to better understand traffic patterns, pedestrian activity, as well as handle parking enforcement, police patrols and more.

“With this pilot, alongside the city, we hope to learn how we can best support the city in realizing the value of the data from the public safety solution for the park,” said Stephen Rusche, senior director for Cox Smart Communities.

Cox Business “owns the relationship with the city,” Rusche pointed out, which means it will deliver the network, technology and application that rides on top of the technology, including data related to video analytics, foot traffic and park activity.

“This pilot will also provide a setting for evaluating technology partners for this and other smart community projects involving Cox2M. Lastly, this is a prime opportunity for us to work with the city to test a managed private network use case,” he added.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.