FALL 2017 | CompTIAWorld 29 Keep Austin Wired Austin is becoming a smart city with the help of Austin CityUp, a consortium of public and private sector organizations that share a vision to create a comprehensive, integrated, inclusive, evolving, sustainable smart city infrastructure. “We are a very inclusive group with over 50 members,” said Jay Boisseau who leads Austin CityUp. “Many are Austin-based and some are national and global organizations. We are not about competition —we only provide support for each other. We inform members of city priorities, encourage collaboration and new projects and look into funding challenges. Our ultimate goal is to help Austin achieve smart city status by bringing local businesses and nonprofits together to work with city governments. The idea is to leverage all these resources to find solutions to common problems.” Boisseau observed there are many smart cities projects but there are no smart cities—yet. A potential reason why is that smart cities have so many different components. There are the stakeholders, which are residents, visitors, businesses and organizations. There are also vertical domains that include safety, housing, transportation, health, education and jobs. Boisseau stressed that there are two key dimensions to becoming a smart city: data and funding. On the funding side, Boisseau noted that cities have little discretionary money, and while there is a rough constant revenue from taxes, many of the smart city projects go over-budget with costs that can range from two to nine figures. Still, “data is the fuel for a smart city,” he said. “Smart cities use technologies to collect data, analyze data and improve decisions—automated or human— from smart traffic signals to better plans for economic development and workforce development.” He said data access, integration and rapid analytics across source departments is challenging, but that great data collection, hosting and analytics infrastructure is the engine for a smart city. Boisseau and Austin CityUp are preparing a strategic smart city roadmap for Austin. Austin recently used its readiness workshop to develop strategies inviting underserved populations to participate in designing solutions for their mobility needs, as well as affordable housing and economic development. The city, which is growing rapidly, is concentrating its efforts on reaching people who could benefit from a government that’s more responsive to their needs.