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Broome County is enlisting the expertise of Cornell researchers and other specialists to implement advanced “smart city” technology, aiming to potentially enhance flood warnings, provide real-time parking updates and optimize waste management.

Those were some of the ideas discussed at the “What are Smart Cities?” forum hosted by the City of Binghamton’s Office of Economic Development and Cornell Engineering on May 16 in Binghamton. Forum attendees included municipal leaders, industry experts, nonprofit organizations, and academics from Cornell and SUNY Binghamton.

One impetus for the forum is a $100,000 federal grant Binghamton and Broome County are pursuing to implement Internet of Things technologies.

The Cornell team, including faculty and students from Cornell Engineering, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, explained to the forum that the Internet of Things is part of the smart cities movement that aims to take advantage of technology and the availability of big data to improve the efficiency and quality of services in communities.

Max Zhang, the Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering and the Kathy Dwyer Marble and Curt Marble Faculty Director at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, was on hand to describe the benefits of public Internet of Things networks and the technology that enables sensors to communicate data wirelessly, including in areas without cellular or broadband services.

Sarah Glose, director of economic development for the City of Binghamton, organized the forum. Glose knew that Zhang had a National Science Foundation grant to help develop public municipal Internet of Things networks and that he had already implemented a public network in Geneva, New York, and was working on one for Ithaca.

“We really want to bring people together to talk about this,” Glose said, “and share ideas so that when we move to the next phase, which is hopefully implementation of some of this technology, that we are utilizing it in the most creative ways that are the most impactful for both the people who work at the City of Binghamton and the county as well as the users and the citizens.”

Some possibilities for applications include real-time traffic and parking information for commuters and smart trash cans that inform municipal staff when they are full. However, a primary focus at the forum was stormwater management, with systems capable of transmitting data about overwhelmed drains in flood-prone areas. The Southern Tier region gained national attention in 2006 and 2011 when heavy rains caused flash floods, forcing evacuations and rescue operations.

“This is an engagement-driven process,” said Zhang, of assisting with the smart city initiative. “The people living and working in Binghamton and Broome County know better than we do what their needs are. I described the capabilities of the technology and now we can work together to come up with some potential solutions.”

Representatives of Southern Tier 8, a regional planning agency responsible for the grant, were in attendance, as were representatives from the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering, the Department of Communication, the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy, the Department of Global Development, Local First Ithaca, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, the Broome County government, the City of Binghamton, and several other municipalities and corporate entities.

“There was a great mix of attendees,” Zhang said, “and as we move forward I am looking forward to helping the city and the county identify the best placement for the gateways that will be the backbone of the system.”

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Chris Dawson

Quelle/Source: Cornell Chronicle, 29.05.2024

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