<![CDATA[Former City of Pittsburgh Chief Innovation Officer Joins IPaT as Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation ]]> 27980 Debra Lam has joined Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) as the Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Lam brings to Georgia Tech over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management. 

“Debra brings rich and unique experience in building partnerships between municipalities, companies, and universities,” said Steve Cross, Georgia Tech executive vice president for research. “We are proud to welcome her and look forward to her leadership as Georgia Tech continues to forge a path of innovation and next-generation planning and data analytics that will help transform cities throughout the world, including Atlanta, into smarter, more efficient places to live and work.”

Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Lam served as Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh where she led the City's developments in innovation, open data, and resilience; successfully creating and executing the City's first comprehensive plan on inclusive innovation. Lam led a series of major initiatives and programs including Pittsburgh Roadmap for Inclusive  Innovation and PGH Lab, a program bringing the City and local startup companies together. Lam was also instrumental in forging city-university partnerships. In 2015, she championed regional data center in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center provides technological and legal infrastructure to support research, analysis, decision-making, and community engagement.

During her service, Lam also expanded free public  Wi-Fi  across Pittsburgh, supported digital literacy and led civic engagement work including social media presence, public outreach, and thought leadership.

“We are thrilled to bring Debra Lam to Georgia Tech and welcome her leadership and expertise in Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation,” said Elizabeth Mynatt, executive director of IPaT. “Debra is known world wide and her perspective on how to integrate new technology innovations with meeting the societal needs of our cities and communities is key to Georgia Tech’s strategy. Inclusive innovation is a powerful concept that will lead us to exceed goals for smarter cities as we create more dynamic, entrepreneurial, sustainable and equitable communities overall.”

“We welcome Debra Lam to Atlanta and look forward to working with her on our smart cities initiatives,” said Samir Saini, Chief Information Officer for the City of Atlanta. “We are excited to work with Ms. Lam to further our partnership with Georgia Tech, bringing synergy to the Institute’s research projects and the City of Atlanta’s operational innovation projects, most notably the North Avenue Smart Corridor Project.”

Lam is a founding leader of the  MetroLab  Network and serves on their executive steering committee. She’s also a World Cities Summit Young Leader, a Leadership Pittsburgh alumni, and has spoken nationally and internationally on inclusive innovation, performance management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural change. Management Today named Lam to its “35 Women Under 35” list. She was also a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology.

"It is an honor to be a Yellow Jacket and join one of the world's leading research university," said Lam. "Georgia Tech's public mission, entrepreneurial spirit, and collaborative, interdisciplinary approach places them at the forefront of driving smart cities and inclusive innovation. I am excited to be part of the team."

Lam graduated cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1485355254 2017-01-25 14:40:54 1570460314 2019-10-07 14:58:34 0 0 news Debra Lam has joined Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) as the Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

2017-01-25T00:00:00-05:00 2017-01-25T00:00:00-05:00 2017-01-25 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology


<![CDATA[A Conversation With Martin O'Malley]]> 27980 As a former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, Martin O’Malley has a unique perspective on how cities and states operate. He’s now using that experience in his new role with MetroLab Network, a city-university collaborative for urban innovation. In 2015, Georgia Tech joined MetroLab as a founding member. In an interview with IPaT before speaking at Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square, O’Malley discusses three qualities of a successful city-university partnership and some of the challenges these collaborations can address.

Editor's note: This interview was edited for clarity.

IPaT: How are you collaborating with MetroLab?

Martin O'Malley: I’m the Chairman of the Advisory Board for MetroLab Network, which is a collaborative of 40 leading cities and their university partners that are all about research, development and deployment of smart cities solutions to big city challenges. One area we’ve focused on this year is sensors. With the internet of things and the technology of sensors, we’re able to see and to track not only the movement of traffic and pedestrians, but in cities like South Bend, Indiana, in partnership with Notre Dame, they’re installing sensors in their water infrastructures so that they can make it a much more dynamic system to reduce storm water pollution and facilitate the building of green infrastructure that allows our city streets to work with, and not against nature. Another area we’re working on is the use of big data for social good. In other words, how do we deliver better and more timely human services in order to heal vulnerable families and to save the lives of at-risk children? In our collaborative of 40 cities, there are multiple projects that are going on, and some of the most exciting ones are the ones that harness the power of universities in terms of their talent for research and development, and combines that with the ability that mayors have to deploy and test solutions very quickly with immediate feedback loops, rather than waiting three or four years to figure out if something is working. It’s governance by the iteration of better practices and better ideas, shared nationally across our network.

IPaT: What are your goals and vision for the future in your role with MetroLab?

MO: The goal with MetroLab Network is to scale up these solutions by learning from one another. Learning from what others have already tested and figuring out ahead of time what the barriers are that need to be overcome, whether it’s privacy concerns or technology solutions, these are the things that mayors really do very well. In fact, having been both a mayor and a governor, I can tell you that mayors learn a lot better from each other than governors do, and they learn more quickly, and they’re able to act more immediately.

IPaT: What does a successful city-university partnership look like?

MO: The successful city-university partnership is one where there’s a point person on both sides of the partnership that can access, at the highest levels, department heads and the talent that exists in both organizations. The second thing is that successful city-university partnerships must meet regularly around the projects that they’re working on, and the really good ones have at least two or three projects that they’re working on simultaneously. And finally, another hallmark of a healthy city-university partnership is where the level of trust is constantly fostered and developed. These collaborations don’t happen by themselves; the good city-university partnerships are figuring out ways to give them structure and to make sure that the mayor and the university president are both empowering their command staffs to work together, and communicating a clarity of intention. The intention being that the university and the cities partner, not only in research and development, but also deployment of real ideas and real solutions that can help real people.

IPaT: What are some of urban challenges that can be better addressed through city-university partnerships and why?

MO: For the first time in human history, more than 50-percent of us now live in cities. By some estimates, by 2050 that number will be 75-percent. So there’s the challenges of density, population, traffic, and everything that goes along with that. The use of land, water and energy – these are some huge challenges faced by cities. Also, urbanization can unwittingly bring about greater income inequality and separation of the very rich and the very poor. Cities play a critical role in bridging that divide and taking concrete actions that expand opportunity and safeguard the most vulnerable lives, who very often live in the hearts of our big cities. Smarter interventions, earlier interventions, and the use of big data can assure that no child slips through the cracks and that every person’s potential is realized to its fullest, whether that’s in workforce development programs, deployment of social services, or ensuring that the workforce can afford to live in our cities where the opportunities are becoming so concentrated.

IPaT: What did these partnerships look like when you were mayor, what do they look like now, and in the future?

MO: A lot of cities and their university partners have figured out how to partner around joint real estate development in that they create an array of housing and job opportunities near the university. Now that we’ve proven we can collaborate around brick and mortar real estate development, we need to take that same spirit of collaboration and put it to use solving big challenges that face us as a people not only in this country, but on the planet. And that is, how do we live in a more sustainable way? How do we improve security even as we face challenges with safety and the well-being of our citizens? Even as we face the challenge of density and income inequality?

IPaT: You've been recognized as having a data-driven approach to policy and administration. Why is this important?

MO: I found technology and information technology, governance by evidence and data, to be really critical to strengthening the common good of a city or of a state. This is a way of governing that is very different than the old way of governing, which was often times hierarchical and structured by command and control. Things got done on the basis of, ‘because I said so.’ This new way of governing is much more collaborative; it’s open and it’s transparent in ways that not only everyone in government can see, but in ways that all stakeholders – especially citizens – can see. Mayors are figuring out how to get things done and doing it in very entrepreneurial ways that improve public trust. And really, that’s the source of all power among a self-governed people, is the ability to trust one another; the ability to trust that our government sees us and recognizes us, is serving our family’s best interest.

IPaT: How do you think universities can motivate cities to have visions of inclusive innovation?

MO: One way that universities can spur the cities on is to figure out the mayor’s top challenges and priorities, and direct university research toward solving those problems. In the past, a university’s idea of a great research project is one that takes 20 years. A mayor’s idea of a great research project is one that takes two months, and allows the mayor to deploy a better solution to a vexing problem. 20-year research projects don’t cut it for things that mayors have to get done today. Universities can be a tremendous help by increasing the velocity of research and deployment, and the iterations that lead to better solutions. Cities aren’t going to be able to replace the sort of federal research dollars that appear to be in such grave jeopardy. But cities can provide a deployment platform; cities can help speed the iteration of new technology and new ideas so that they become commercialized.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1490312043 2017-03-23 23:34:03 1570460263 2019-10-07 14:57:43 0 0 news In an interview with IPaT before speaking at Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square, O’Malley discusses three qualities of a successful city-university partnership and some of the challenges these collaborations can address.

2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology


589221 589221 image <![CDATA[Martin O'Malley]]> image/png 1490312009 2017-03-23 23:33:29 1490312009 2017-03-23 23:33:29
<![CDATA[Debra Lam Named a 2017 Top Woman in Technology by StateScoop]]> 27980 IPaT's Debra Lam has been named to StateScoop’s inaugural list of Top Women in Technology for 2017. StateScoop’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Jake Williams, made the announcement on March 17th.

"I am very grateful and thankful for the people who supported me," said Lam of the honor. "I am surprised, honored and humbled. I think it is a reflection of the support I've been given, but it's also an indication that I can do more," she continued.

StateScoop’s inaugural list of the Top Women in Technology for 2017 is an elite group of the women across the state and local government community who are infrequently recognized, but constantly working to improve government and the lives of those governed.

"We are thrilled to see Debra get the recognition she deserves for her important work," said Beth Mynatt, executive director of IPaT. "Her perspective on how to integrate new technology innovations with meeting the societal needs of our cities and communities is key to Georgia Tech's strategy," said Mynatt.

Lam was named IPaT’s Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Managing Director in January of 2017.

She has over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management, and previously served as Chief Innovation and Performance Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. Lam is a founding leader of MetroLab  Network and serves on their executive steering committee.

She is also a World Cities Summit Young Leader, a Leadership Pittsburgh alumni, and has spoken nationally and internationally on inclusive innovation, performance management, data-driven decision-making, and cultural change.

Like Georgia Tech, Lam is committed to progress and innovation. Management Today named her to its “35 Women Under 35” list, and she was also a finalist for Women of the Future, Science and Technology. 

Read the full list of Top Women in Technology for 2017, including an interview with Debra Lam.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1490312558 2017-03-23 23:42:38 1570460220 2019-10-07 14:57:00 0 0 news Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation Managing Director Debra Lam has been named one of StateScoop's Top Women in Technology 2017.

2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23T00:00:00-04:00 2017-03-23 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology


589223 589223 image <![CDATA[Debra Lam]]> image/jpeg 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36
<![CDATA[Convergence Innovation Competition Winners Announced]]> 27980 It was another great semester of student invention and innovation in the Spring 2017 Convergence Innovation Competition (CIC). The competition wrapped up on April 11th with a live demo and judging event for finalists hosted by IPaT and the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC). More than two dozen teams and 120 students participated in this semester’s CIC.


Technology for Social Good

Two of the winning CIC projects use the power of technology to create social change. Food for Thought is an app that connects businesses, non-profits, schools and individuals that have excess edible food to those who need it. App users have the option to either share, transport or request food, and can add images to their posts. “Brownie points” gamify the app and create a feel-good factor around sharing.

Approximately 40-percent of food in the U.S. is never eaten, making this country the world’s largest food waster. “You assume that because this is a first-world country, there’s enough food,” said Meghna Natraj, Georgia Tech master’s student in Computer Science. “Food’s being wasted; it’s not being channeled to the right sources.”

The Food for Thought team aims to have a final version finished by the end of April.

Another winning project in the same category uses technology to address gentrification of the area surrounding the Atlanta Beltline. “Concerns about creating a discriminatory environment, rather than universally-available resources are growing,” explained the team in their submission video.

The Beltline Display project envisions interactive experiences along the Beltline to promote connected and walkable communities. Utilizing big data, the team proposes creating technology-focused art pieces along the trail to educate users about their surroundings, neighbors and history of the area. The team’s goals are to promote social change, foster curiosity, and connect Atlanta communities.


Real-Time Information for Transit and More

It’s been nearly a month since fire engulfed part of I-85 causing it to collapse, and the Georgia Department of Transportation says it could take at least another seven weeks to repair the damage. In the meantime, commuters are exploring alternative means of transportation. The developers of MARTAnow say their app is the perfect use case for solving transit problems.

Even before the I-85 collapse, the team behind MARTAnow has been researching why some commuters are reluctant to use MARTA. They’re also trying to solve a larger issue in public transit called the first-mile/last-mile problem – getting people from their location to the bus stop, and from the bus stop to their final location.

“A bridge collapses and all of a sudden, hundreds of thousands of people can’t get to where they need to go,” said Amit Garg, Georgia Tech master’s student in Human-Computer Interaction. “Using our app, people can visualize other modes of transportation to get to their final destination, whether that’s ridesharing, through renting a bike, or using MARTA trains and buses.”

MARTAnow combines real-time MARTA schedules, walkability scores, and ridesharing into one easy-to-use transit app. MARTA is now working with Garg and his teammates to integrate the app into its ecosystem.

While they may not be working to solve something as complicated as transit issues, the creators of NowWhat are working to answer a question important to students – where’s the party?

“All of us Tech students have had this problem at one time or another,” explained Ryan Brooks, Georgia Tech Computer Science student.

NowWhat is a map interface app that allows you to see events happening around you in real time, get rides to those events, and see friends’ current locations. Information from different event sources is gathered in one app for ease of use.

“We’ve never had that one central location, to see on a map how far away something is and being able to visualize it in that way,” said Brooks.

The team will soon work on developing the app for iOS and Android.

Enhancing Medical Intervention

As many as 40% of people with autism never speak or have difficulty communicating verbally. Rapid Prompting Method, or RPM, was developed by a mother who wanted to teach her non-verbal autistic son to express himself. A group of Georgia Tech students has now found a way to enhance RPM using real-time data.

The process of RPM is simple: a teacher gives a short lesson on a topic, asks a question and then elicits a response using verbal, auditory, or visual prompts. The child will answer based on the teacher’s question by spelling out the letters written on a letterboard. The CIC project Responsive Letterboard for Autism Spectrum Disorder reinvents the board. When the child presses a letter, their selection is transferred to a web user interface in real time. This method allows teachers and clinicians to view the data, track a child’s progress and make improvements.

The team was inspired by their professor, Gregory Abowd, who has an autistic son. “That community of parents and technicians are really positive and helpful and they’re engaged in our research,” said Fereshteh Shahmiri, Georgia Tech Ph.D. student in Design Computing.

April is Autism Awareness Month.

One of the greatest threats to patient safety during an operation is surgical site infection. According to the CDC, in 2011 approximately 157,500 acute care hospital patients were diagnosed with infections.

“Healthcare professionals try their best to prevent this type of infection, but the increasing mortality of surgical site infections has forced professionals to consider every possible way in which the surgical environment can be controlled,” said Luka Antolic-Soban, Georgia Tech Computer Science student.

ORCA, or Operating Room Computer Asepsis System, is designed to help operating room professionals detect and prevent contamination during operations. The system has two components. One is a belt that goes underneath surgical scrubs to alert operating room staff when they violate protocol. The other uses a camera and infrared sensor to collect information about the operating room environment, such as the distance between personnel.

The ORCA team is collaborating with Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Atlanta to test the system. They've also been invited to participate in Georgia Tech's Startup Launch (formerly Startup Summer), a faculty-led, student-focused program to help student teams launch their startups.

Following the competition, teams are leveraging the feedback received and contacts made during the course of working on their CIC projects and showcasing them at the live judging event. They are debugging their apps, incorporating enhancements, pursuing partnerships, and learning more about entrepreneurship. This semester’s CIC categories were aligned with IPaT’s research priorities; here’s a full list of winning projects and teams:

Lifelong Health and Wellbeing
1st place – Operating Room Computer Asepsis System (ORCA)
Team: Luka Antolic-Soban, Jianming Zeng

2nd place – Responsive Letterboard for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Team: Anisha Bhandari, Geunbae Lee, Fereshteh Shahmiri, Vedant Das Swain

Smart Cities and Healthy Communities
1st place – NowWhat
Team: Ryan Brooks, Joan Chen, Will Christian, Aaron Parry, Brandi Van de Houten

2nd place – MARTAnow
Team: Vishal Bhatnagar, Prasenjeet Biswal, Amit Garg, Samyukta Sherugar

Socio-Technical Systems and Human-Technology Frontier Innovation
1st place – Food for Thought
Team: Akshay Agarwal, Luka Antolic-Soban, Satyajeet Gawas, Meghna Natraj

2nd place – Beltline Display
Team: Aparna Iyer, Jayanth Krishna, Meghana Melkote, Caity Taylor, Eric Thompson

VIEW: More photos from the Spring 2017 Convergence Innovation Competition

The CIC is a semester-long event dedicated to helping students create innovative and viable products and experiences with the support of campus resources and industry guidance. The competition is open to Georgia Tech students from every class and discipline. To learn more, or to find about partnership opportunities, visit cic.gatech.edu.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1493306371 2017-04-27 15:19:31 1570460192 2019-10-07 14:56:32 0 0 news Winning projects focus on technology for social good, transit, medical intervention and more.

2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology


<![CDATA[IPaT Hosts Annual Industry Innovation Day in Tech Square]]> 27980 Hundreds of people, including business leaders, researchers, city officials, entrepreneurs, government and non-profit leaders and students, descended upon Tech Square as the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) hosted its annual Industry Innovation Day. The event serves to showcase research at IPaT and Georgia Tech as well as highlight the many avenues of collaboration. Industry Innovation Day builds on the success of the previous IPaT industry-oriented event, which IPaT hosted for five years, the People and Technology Forum.

“I think this may have been our best year yet. The depth of the conversations, people really dug into the topics quickly. They started to engage each other and challenge each other,” said IPaT Executive Director Elizabeth Mynatt. “To see the business connection where everyone is swapping cards and setting up meetings, this is what we want to do. We want to convene the conversation and we want to catalyze the partnership. I think it’s been a great day,” she continued.

Industry Innovation Day began with thought-provoking keynotes and panel discussions on this year’s theme of Digital Transformation. Digital transformation is the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, and competencies to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind. Panelists examined the transformative impact and value of emerging tools, platforms and technologies, especially in the fields of healthcare and smart & connected communities. Plenary speaker Martin O'Malley, 61st Governor of Maryland and Senior Fellow of MetroLab Network, spoke to attendees about the impact Georgia Tech researchers will have in shaping the future of Atlanta and beyond.

“There’s really a tremendous strength for a city like Atlanta to be a able to tap into the people who know how to do all of those things that make governments operate not only smarter and efficiently, but also allows them recognize the dignity of every person,” said O’Malley.

After IPaT’s Industry Innovation Day concluded, attendees were treated to the GVU Center’s Research Showcase which featured more than 100 interactive projects that let them touch, control and imagine what technology will enable in the future.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1493315423 2017-04-27 17:50:23 1570460147 2019-10-07 14:55:47 0 0 news Hundreds of people, including business leaders, researchers, city officials, entrepreneurs, government and non-profit leaders and students, descended upon Tech Square as IPaT hosted its annual Industry Innovation Day. 

2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27T00:00:00-04:00 2017-04-27 00:00:00 Ashton Pellom

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology / GTRI


<![CDATA[Research happening in the GVU Center]]> <![CDATA[Industry Innovation Day photos]]>
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech’s Serve-Learn-Sustain Hosts Conference on Smart, Connected Communities]]> 27980 The multi-site conference brought together participants from Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore and Lima via webcast to discuss this year’s theme of “Smart, Connected Communities.” IPaT and Civic Data Science co-hosted this year’s Atlanta conference with SLS. The goal of the conference was to discuss plans for working on Georgia Tech and Atlanta-based initiatives focused on data for sustainable communities that support collaboration among faculty, students and partners to enhance and expand teaching, research and action.

“It’s about people in conjunction with the environment. What does it mean to be a more connected community?” said Rafael Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Georgia Tech, and professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. 

After welcome addresses from Bras and SLS Director Jennifer Hirsch, participants explored the intersection of art and data, and sustainability in art. Atlanta-based new media artist Bojana Ginn presented some of her art projects that merge organic materials like wood and lamb’s wool with technology such as LED lights.

“As an artist, sometimes you have to be an engineer, and use nature in a new way,” explained Ginn during her presentation.

Ginn is also creating art from data. She’s working with the Atlanta Regional Commission to translate their environmental, health and transportation line graph data into an art installation.

Mike Carnathan, manager of the Research & Analytics Division of the Atlanta Regional Commission, continued the discussion on the topic of Data-Driven Decision Making. He said, “the possibilities of big data are limitless” and has the potential to change the world, but data alone is meaningless. Carnathan challenged participants to turn data into meaningful information and take action based on the results.

The Atlanta conference then joined other sites via webcast for a keynote from David Ludlow, associate professor of European Smart Cities for the University of the West of England Bristol. He offered insight into the experience of European smart city governance, research and innovation projects. Ludlow says the dynamic of social and technological innovation is defining a new smart city governance, responding to the complex challenges of urban planning and simultaneously disrupting the governance model in fundamental ways. Cities must shift from a top-down expertise model to more participatory engagement with all stakeholders, according to Ludlow.

During lunch, attendees participated in roundtable case study discussions on the topic of “Data in Action.” Facilitators from IPaT and the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC) led a discussion on the Campus as a Smart City, which explored the ongoing and future efforts to use the Tech campus as a testbed for smart cities research and innovation.

Day one of the conference wrapped up with sessions on empowerment and ownership of community research, and advancing equity through smart, connected communities. The conference’s second day focused on listener reports and working sessions.

To learn more about the conference, visit the Serve-Learn-Sustain website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1498657490 2017-06-28 13:44:50 1570460116 2019-10-07 14:55:16 0 0 news For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech’s Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain hosted a satellite conference as part of the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS).

2017-06-28T00:00:00-04:00 2017-06-28T00:00:00-04:00 2017-06-28 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology


<![CDATA[Georgia Tech and the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. Launch Three-Year Partnership]]> 27980 On Friday, July 14th the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a forum on sustainable mobility and smart cities, the first in a series of events planned as part of a three-year strategic partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. (GACC South).

“This is not just a one off workshop; this is a long term engagement,” said Debra Lam, Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. “We set this up by leading with a foundation of [questions like] what are the major issues on the ground right here locally in Atlanta? Who are the players who are actively working in this space? What are they doing about it?”

The purpose of this partnership is to connect German and American organizations, companies and institutions that do work on sustainable mobility through targeted road show series in the Southern U.S. and delegation trips to Germany. The event was meant to spur future collaborations through an exchange of best practices, knowledge transfer, technology development, case studies and more.

“I think it was a great event,” said Michaela Schobert, Director of Consulting Services at the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. “People seemed very interested in the whole subject in general. Coming from Germany we have a huge history around how cities are structured and developed. Partnerships, like the one with Georgia Tech, are very important for us.”

The forum convened over 50 individuals from 30 different organizations and departments including Siemens, the City of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience, and the Georgia Public Service Commission.

“I think it’s important that Georgia Tech brings these groups together,” said John Franklin, Executive Director of Transportation for the Atlanta Public Schools. “Networking today and listening to other people that are working in the same realm, albeit in a different community or different organization, we’re getting together and I think that is time well spent.”

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563215093 2019-07-15 18:24:53 1570460078 2019-10-07 14:54:38 0 0 news On Friday, July 14th the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a forum on sustainable mobility and smart cities.

2017-07-31T00:00:00-04:00 2017-07-31T00:00:00-04:00 2017-07-31 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Convenes Current and Next Generation Thought Leaders in Smart Communities Workshop]]> 27980 On July 21st 2017 at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) offices, Georgia Institute of Technology—in partnership with ARC, Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), Georgia Centers for Innovation, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)—convened local governments, government associations, and industry and academic leaders for a half-day workshop to discuss the application of advanced technology for local government. Reframing so-called smart cities, the workshop exemplified and explored how real-time sensors, automated systems, and other intelligent infrastructures are applicable beyond major metropolitan governments and dense urban areas. The Smart Communities Workshop welcomed “mayors, city council members, city-county managers, specialists in IT, economic development, community development […] to think about, from their perspective, how to move […] forward,” explained Debra Lam, Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. The workshop drew more than 70 participants, including personnel from 20 city governments, eight county governments, three community improvement districts, and three US congressional districts. In total, the workshop accounted for local governments across almost one fifth of Georgia counties.

Cynthia Curry, Director of Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, commented that the workshop was a “really is a great way to take smart cities technologies […] out to the rural community.” Mayor Dan Ponder of Donalsonville, GA—a city with a population just below 3,000 people—echoed Curry’s sentiment: “If there was such a thing as a rural smart city today, it would be out-of-date tomorrow.” With regards to the opportunity provided by the Smart Communities Workshop, Mayor Ponder continued, “This is a process where we can at least participate at the front-end of technology changes versus being the last one.” More than an emphasis on smart communities in rural settings, the workshop spurred conversation about smart community development in many different contexts.

The workshop featured a keynote from Sokwoo Rhee, Associate Director of Cyber-Physical Systems Program for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which focused on best practices and lessons from NIST’s Global Cities Teams Challenge. Participants also heard from a panel of Georgia-based thought-leaders comprised of Mayor Ponder, Lt. Keith Lingerfelt of the Gainesville Police Department, Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones of Georgia Tech, and Abe Kani, Gwinnett County CIO and Director of Information Technology Services. Kani reflected, “We have to understand what kind of a world we live in, and, as much as technology provides a great deal of convenience and opportunity, there are challenges.” Panelists touched on topics from citizen participation to public-private partnerships to deployment strategies.

Following the speakers were a series of small group activities, in which local government participants brainstormed proposals to pressing local issues and opportunities. Employing methods from design thinking, participants were led through a discovery process to understand what challenges might be best suited for smart community projects.

The Smart Communities Workshop is the first step in a larger initiative to launch a Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, a Georgia-wide peer-network and technical assistance program to support smart community projects with local governments. Attendees provided important insights into the scope and scale of such a challenge. “Getting folks from across the state to talk about smart communities really helps us calibrate to make sure we are working across our jurisdictional boundaries, “ commented Leslie Caceda, a transportation technologist with the ARC.

The Smart Community Workshop offered attendees a first glimpse of Georgia Tech’s fundamental role in offering guidance, direction, and technical expertise for smart community development, and attendees seemed eager for more. In closing comments, one workshop attendee asked, “When is round two?”

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214925 2019-07-15 18:22:05 1570460045 2019-10-07 14:54:05 0 0 news On July 21st 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology convened local governments, government associations, and industry and academic leaders for a half-day workshop to discuss the application of advanced technology for local government.

2017-08-04T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-04T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-04 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Researchers Present Smart City Work at Atlanta City Hall]]> 27980 Today at Atlanta City Hall, Georgia Tech will host the second installment of the 2017 Smart Cities Speaker Series. Once a month, researchers from IPaT's Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grant program present their interdisciplinary research to the City of Atlanta to gain valuable feedback on their work. 

“This is our inaugural Speaker Series between the City of Atlanta and Georgia Tech and it’s an example of some of the really interesting research that we’re doing at Georgia Tech and its application to city-wide operations,” said Debra Lam, Georgia Tech’s Managing Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation.

The speaker series kicked off in July with Georgia Tech researchers Christopher Le Dantec and Kari Watkins presenting their research on “Sensing Traffic Conditions to Model and Predict Rider Stress.” Watkins also discussed “Mobility as a Service.”

“The city can continue to do what it has done historically the same way, but by bringing this research capacity to bear, the city can do things smarter and better,” said Kirk Talbott, the City of Atlanta’s Executive Director for Smart Cities. “Helping the employees understand these new emerging solutions and research that’s coming out of Georgia Tech, there might be better ways to solve problems that we’ve struggled with for decades, so making them aware of what’s possible is very, very powerful.”

Earlier this year, IPaT awarded the first Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grants to provide funding to further interdisciplinary research within the area of Smart & Connected Communities. The result of the program will be new collections of smart city data that can be made available to the Georgia Tech research community and new prototypes for working with data.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214717 2019-07-15 18:18:37 1570459997 2019-10-07 14:53:17 0 0 news At Atlanta City Hall, Georgia Tech hosted the second installment of the 2017 Smart Cities Speaker Series.

2017-08-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-08-25 00:00:00 2017 Smart Cities Speaker Series Schedule

Friday, August 25th at 12 pm
Smart Cities Data Platform Development
Making Legacy Data Available and Accessible for the Smart City

Friday, September 29th at 12 pm
Developing a Robust Archive of Environmental Data to Support Smart Cities Initiatives
Toward Reality-Virtuality Integrated Smart Cities: Understanding Urban Scale Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Human Interactions Through a Reality Data-Rich Virtual Atlanta

Friday, December 1st at 12 pm
Stakeholder Engagement
Wind Speed and Acoustic Activity Extensions to the Tech Climate Network

<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Smart Cities Researchers Showcase Work at Experience SmartATL Event]]> 27980 On Friday, September 15, Georgia Tech researchers will participate in the city’s inaugural Experience SmartATL event at Ponce City Market. The event, which will run from 10am to 3pm, will showcase smart city projects and research being undertaken by various city departments, academic partners, and private companies in the Atlanta area.  

“Georgia Tech’s involvement in Experience SmartATL is another example of how we are working with the city to improve quality of life through smart technologies and systems,” said Georgia Tech’s Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, Debra Lam.

Georgia Tech faculty and graduate students will be showcasing their work on a variety of topics ranging from crime detection to autonomous vehicles to distributed sensing networks. The projects will represent an interdisciplinary swath of fields including Human Computer Interactions, Literature, Media and Communication, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Architecture, and Urban Design. For detailed descriptions of the Georgia Tech projects being showcased at Experience SmartATL click here.

The event will be divided into two sessions, the first from 10am to 12pm and the second from 1pm to 3pm. The event is free and open to the public, however, registration is required for admittance. Register here.

For more information about the event please contact Janae Futrell at jfutrell@atlantaga.gov.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214231 2019-07-15 18:10:31 1570459937 2019-10-07 14:52:17 0 0 news On Friday, September 15, Georgia Tech researchers will participate in the city’s inaugural Experience SmartATL event at Ponce City Market.

2017-09-08T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-08T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-08 00:00:00
<![CDATA[Smart Data Revolution]]> 27980 Most cities are grappling with becoming truly smart, but they're making exciting progress. Testbeds and innovation districts have popped up across the country, and on a larger scale, cities are deploying sensors and cameras to collect information about our daily lives. They’re also tapping into the power of universities by working together on research projects that explore how data, technology, and policy changes can address urban challenges.

Georgia Tech recently expanded its smart cities efforts by joining the national MetroLab Network in 2016 and assembling a 20-plus member interdisciplinary faculty council co-chaired by Gisele Bennett, Georgia Tech’s associate vice president for research, Faculty Interaction, and Beth Mynatt, executive director of the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT).

"Creating smart cities is a true interdisciplinary challenge on an exponential scale," said Mynatt. "It's important that we pull together the breadth and depth of Georgia Tech's expertise in this area to meet local, national and international needs."

The Institute is pairing the council with a number of key partnerships, including the City of Atlanta, and a three-year strategic partnership with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. (GACC South) which will help connect organizations that work on sustainable mobility issues in the U.S. and abroad. A new Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation website provides a comprehensive summary of these key partnerships, projects, and data sets.

"Smart cities remains an evolving area with unexplored technical and social frontier," said Debra Lam, managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. "It can't be successfully deployed by any single entity and it is vital that partnerships are pursued and developed to further the research applications and broaden the impact, to ensure that the beneficiaries are the people and communities at large. The research at Georgia Tech reflects that wider reach."

Georgia Tech’s smart cities initiative extends to research projects from diverse disciplines across campus. Faculty researchers are gathering data about safety, how people travel, and even how taxpayer money is spent, all in an effort to improve the quality of life for residents.

Connecting Crimes

Late last year, Yao Xie, assistant professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, began working with the Atlanta Police Department to test an algorithm that finds connections between crime incidents. The algorithm examines both structured data captured by 911 operators — the type of crime, and when and where it happened — and unstructured, or free text data. This type of data is gathered by police officers at the scene of the crime and includes detailed, narrative descriptions from the officer, victims, and witnesses.

The tricky part for police investigators is manually analyzing thousands upon thousands of reports — including new reports that are coming in every day — to find patterns between cases, which could help solve serial crimes. It’s an impossible task. Xie’s algorithm automates this process by dissecting incident reports and learning the similarities between words and common patterns in how crimes occurred. It has to be smart enough to recognize that two or more crimes could be related.

“This is an artificial intelligence way of processing police reports,” said Xie. “It’s a way of investigating cases much faster, and more effectively.”

The Atlanta Police Department provided three years of data to process, more than 24,000 cases. The algorithm analyzed that data within hours.

“Our partnership with Georgia Tech has the potential to truly transform the speed and manner in which we currently analyze crime data,” said former Atlanta Police Department Sergeant Frank Ruben, who is now with the city’s Atlanta Information Management department. “The ability this gives our investigators to proactively compare notes and identify trends will aid tremendously in furthering Chief Erika Shields’ priority of reducing violent crime through innovative technology.”

There are challenges with this method, explained Xie, including typos, grammatically incorrect sentences, and differences in how individual officers write their reports. “The reports are very different from one to the next; in fact, they’re never the same. The algorithm has to be robust enough to see errors.”

Xie is receiving financial support for her research from the Atlanta Police Foundation. She’s now working to integrate the algorithm into the North Avenue Smart Corridor and pull in crime sensor data.

Smarter Travel

The City of Atlanta with its partners, including Georgia Tech, the Georgia Department of Transportation, and many others, will officially unveil the North Avenue project on September 14th. The corridor stretches between Midtown and Downtown Atlanta and features cameras that monitor traffic and public safety, data-collecting road sensors and modern, adaptive traffic lights that exchange information with each other and vehicles traveling along North Avenue. The City will also demonstrate a semi-autonomous vehicle guided by sensors installed along the route. 

“The corridor is intended to demonstrate all of the ways that technology can connect us, in particular from a transportation perspective," said Faye DiMassimo, general manager of Renew Atlanta. "In some way, shape or form, all of the technology features of the corridor contribute to a safer experience as well as enhanced mobility.”

Georgia Tech will leverage the integrated smart technology and data to better understand traffic operations along the corridor, ultimately providing feedback to improve system efficiency. "There’s no substitute for the great, robust evaluation that Georgia Tech is going to provide as we measure the performance of the corridor,” said DiMassimo.

Currently, most smart city traffic research focuses on travel time because it’s a challenge that drivers experience every day. One piece that’s missing according to Michael Hunter, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is energy use and emissions. He’s using smart technology data collected from connected vehicles, road sensors, and other sources to understand the impact of traffic signal timing and driver behavior on energy use and emissions, leading to more efficient signal control and driving decisions. “On any one car that may only be a small number of gallons saved. However, when you look at that day after day over a year you might start seeing some significant energy savings.”

In addition to analyzing the North Avenue data, Randall Guensler, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading an effort within the project that is collecting data through an app they developed called Commute Warrior. It runs in the background of the user’s smartphone and monitors walking, biking, vehicle trips and other travel activity. Researchers then use the data to study travel behavior, and app users can look back at their trips using a travel journal and interactive map interface.

Hunter and Guensler will utilize this trip data to advance the ability to improve signal timing and driver routing decisions during special events, like Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta United games. The goal is to provide more predictive information and incentivize a change in drivers’ behavior. “If you leave 15 minutes later or a half hour earlier, what would be the difference in energy use, emissions, or travel time?” 

Hunter says data-gathering and analyzation are about people and changing their lives for the better. “All the detection in the world, who cares if you’re not turning it into something actionable? We’re gathering data, but how do we use that data to improve the quality of life?”

Unlocking City Data

What good is data if it can’t be easily accessed? And what can data from 10 or even 20 years ago tell us? These are the questions behind Thomas Lodato and Jennifer Clark's research. They’re examining aging or obsolete legacy systems that house budget and spending data for the City of Atlanta, digitizing the data, and migrating it to a more sustainable system. The data spans two decades starting in 1996. The researchers are also looking at how existing or older systems sync with new ones.

“All the discussion about smart cities tends to be about these emerging, new technologies, real-time sensors and partnerships with applications that are providing data,” said Lodato, a research scientist with IPaT and the Center for Urban Innovation. “There’s this wealth of other data that exists that’s embedded in some sort of legacy system.”

Although older budgets are currently available to the public on the City of Atlanta website, they’re in a format that makes it difficult to extract data. The unlocked data, even from 20 years ago, can provide insight into how city officials are spending taxpayer money and allow researchers to create visualizations that show trends over time.

“A city’s budget is about political promises. So when someone asks, ‘Where did my money go?’ we can compare, longitudinally, promises that were set forth and whether or not they were kept,” explained Lodato. “A smart city is not just reconfiguring the technological landscape of a city. It’s also reconfiguring its institutional and political landscape.”

Lodato and Clark also want to understand the socio-technical aspects of data systems — how cities are maintaining them, and who’s maintaining them. They say it’s imperative that cities include systems maintenance in their long-term strategic plans.

"We're interested in the work behind the technology that's creating smart cities," said Clark, director of the Center for Urban Innovation and associate professor in the School of Public Policy. "That includes the work of making data meaningful to people living, working, and investing in cities. Smart cities research often focuses so much on the future of cities that the plans for data – collection, storage, systems architecture – are designed looking forward, not back. But for the data to be meaningful it must be able to speak to change over time. In our work, we focus on the importance of designing and planning for that integrated systems approach to smart cities."

IPaT provided one semester of funding for this project and five others through the Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grants program and is hosting a speaker series at Atlanta City Hall where grant recipients receive feedback on their work.

Photos by: Christopher Moore
Graphics by: Raul Perez

]]> Alyson Key 1 1505329714 2017-09-13 19:08:34 1570459875 2019-10-07 14:51:15 0 0 news For decades, cities have used data to solve critical problems; advances in technology are now enhancing their efforts.

2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer, Institute for People and Technology


595901 595900 595903 595901 image <![CDATA[Jennifer Clark and Thomas Lodato]]> image/jpeg 1505330057 2017-09-13 19:14:17 1505330104 2017-09-13 19:15:04 595900 image <![CDATA[Yao Xie]]> image/jpeg 1505329798 2017-09-13 19:09:58 1505329798 2017-09-13 19:09:58 595903 image <![CDATA[Michael Hunter]]> image/jpeg 1505330176 2017-09-13 19:16:16 1505330176 2017-09-13 19:16:16
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech faculty and staff speaking at ARC’s ConnectATL Summit]]> 27980 On Friday, September 22, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will host ConnectATL, a day-long summit bringing together city and county government officials, local transportation experts, and mobility industry leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges brought about by rapid advancements in transportation technology.

"The anticipated changes to mobility are bound to be some of the most transformative innovations of our lives,” said Doug Hooker, Executive Director of ARC. “This conference will spark our thinking around how we can support both a seamless transition of technologies and continued innovation within the Atlanta region.”

The keynote speaker for the Summit will be Andrew Ginther, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s $50 million Smart City Challenge. Breakout sessions will be organized around the goals of the Atlanta Region’s Plan, ARC’s long-range blueprint for securing metro Atlanta’s future by providing world-class infrastructure, building a competitive economy, and fostering healthy, livable communities.

Panelists will include Ellen Dunham-Jones, Director of Georgia Tech’s Master of Science in Urban Design and Debra Lam, Georgia Tech’s Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Jennifer Clark, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation will be moderating a panel.

“Transportation technology is evolving rapidly and it’s vital that we understand how these changes will affect the way we design, manage and live in cities,” Lam said. “Smart transportation is not only about deploying the best and latest technology, but also ensuring that it is accessible to everyone.”

The Summit will take place at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center starting at 8:30am and ending at 6pm on Friday.

To learn more about this event and register please visit www.ConnectATL.org. Georgia Tech faculty, staff and students qualify for a discounted registration, FMI email Kristi Kirkland at kristi.kirkland@ti.gatech.edu. Volunteers are admitted free of charge, click here to sign up to volunteer. Registration tickets are still available via this link.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214004 2019-07-15 18:06:44 1570459845 2019-10-07 14:50:45 0 0 news On Friday, September 22, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) will host ConnectATL, a day-long summit bringing together city and county government officials, local transportation experts, and mobility industry leaders.

2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13 00:00:00
<![CDATA[IPaT Spotlight: Debra Lam]]> 27980 When Debra Lam joined Georgia Tech in January, she hit the ground running. Within the first few months of becoming the Institute’s managing director of its newly-created smart cities and inclusive innovation initiative, she developed meaningful partnerships at the campus, local, national and even international levels. Lam has brought together Georgia Tech researchers and smart city leaders with workshops, and a smart city speaker series where researchers present their work for feedback at Atlanta City Hall. She’s also helping to organize the upcoming MetroLab Summit, hosted for the first time in Atlanta.

Although she’s new to Georgia Tech, Lam has over a decade of experience in urban innovation and resilience, strategy and management. She previously led the City of Pittsburgh's developments in innovation, open data, and resilience, successfully creating and executing the city's first comprehensive plan on inclusive innovation.

In an interview with IPaT, Lam talks about taking smart city testbeds to the next level and how to engage the people who live and work in Atlanta.

Editor’s note: This interview is lightly edited.

IPaT: You’ve previously discussed how, currently, there’s no smart city. Why not, and what will the first truly smart city look like?

Debra Lam: There are testbeds, demonstration areas, and innovation districts, but there isn’t an actual smart city. I think the big, next phase for the smart city ecosystem is how to move beyond the testbed. What is this level of success or performance metric that allows us to move beyond the testbed into a full smart city? There are areas and cities that are super close and more advanced, particularly in Asia. But they’ve had certain advantages in terms of building a city from scratch or having very strong centralized government control to move forward, so they’ve been able to showcase a lot of success. But I don’t think we’re at smart city yet, certainly not an inclusive smart city. 

IPaT: What else does a smart city consist of besides technology?

DL: A smart city is really about improving the quality of life and using technology and data to facilitate that. This is very explicit in terms of the application and usage and institutionalization of it. It’s not just buying a bunch of technology and calling a city smart. It’s really how you use the technology, who uses the technology and how does that technology change or improve the quality of life or decision-making.

IPaT: How can cities put residents’ needs first when adopting smart city initiatives?

DL: Engaging them from the start, rather than at the end. How do residents see the technology? How do they the city applying the technology? What do they think about it? Getting their feedback, making sure that they understand not only the advantages but the risks that are involved in these changes. 

IPaT: Should residents be concerned about privacy when it comes to smart city technology?

DL: When it comes to technology privacy unless you live in a box with no technology and you're not connected to anything, there's always a risk. That's just unavoidable. Just by having a cell phone and having a contract with a provider means that your information is being collected. I think it's naïve for anyone to say, “this is 100% guaranteed security.” I think it’s important to be open and transparent about that. We make meaningful choices each and every day of whether to accept that risk because the benefits outweigh the risk. Or the risks are tiny enough that they're not that valid. Now with all this, it's certainly important to think about security and privacy and to be open with citizens and to understand some of those risks and then take precautions to minimize them. Georgia Tech is collecting data for research and development purposes and has very strict protocols on confidentiality, classification, and security. As a public institution, we’re not driven by the same profit motivations as others.

IPaT: What is your smart city vision for Atlanta and how can Georgia Tech continue to be a leader in this effort?

DL: Atlanta is one of the leaders in the U.S. around smart cities, and it’s really great that there is energy and hunger to move forward. Georgia Tech is unique in terms of understanding the vision of smart cities, components like data and technology, and the application of those components. So that unique combination produces a sweet spot for us to contribute in this larger smart city ecosystem, and we have proven to be a critical player and leader. We certainly can’t be the only player, nor do we expect to be, so at the end of the day it’s a broad coalition of people that includes Georgia Tech. But it’s exciting that we’re on the forefront of this space.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563214137 2019-07-15 18:08:57 1570459808 2019-10-07 14:50:08 0 0 news Georgia Tech’s managing director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation discusses how Atlanta and Georgia Tech can advance smart city initiatives and put residents’ needs first.

2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-13 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Institute for People and Technology

589223 589223 image <![CDATA[Debra Lam]]> image/jpeg 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36 1490312316 2017-03-23 23:38:36
<![CDATA[City of Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology Launch North Avenue Smart Corridor Project]]> 27980 On Thursday, September 14, the City of Atlanta launched the North Avenue Smart Corridor. The approximately $3 million project is being funded by the RENEW Atlanta bond and is receiving technical support from Together for Safer Roads, a coalition of global private sector companies, across industries, collaborating to improve road safety.

“The North Avenue Smart Corridor really is a game changer for the City of Atlanta,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “When it’s complete it will connect many vital institutions, companies, and facilities with new smart city technology on the major east-west corridor. Through projects of this scope, Atlanta will become a national leader in the smart cities movement.”

Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson joined Mayor Reed on stage and spoke about the importance of this city-university partnership.

“We’ve got a lot of really smart people at Georgia Tech and because of the Mayor’s initiative and RENEW Atlanta we’re able to get those people and the expertise they have and then connect that with real-world problems here in Atlanta,” said Peterson.

As the City’s official research partner on this project, Georgia Tech is helping develop, deploy and evaluate smart technologies aimed at improving public safety, environmental health and traffic congestion along the corridor.

“Georgia Tech has been an invaluable partner,” said Faye DiMassimo, general manager of RENEW Atlanta. “Georgia Tech has helped us assess the technologies that we were considering for deployment along the corridor and they’re also going to be here for the longer term to help evaluate the success of those.”

Mike Hunter, assistant professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading Georgia Tech’s work along North Avenue.

“The direct impact of the Georgia Tech project is going to be on quality of life,” said Hunter. “If we can reduce emissions, we can reduce pollution in the city [while reducing peoples’] gas mileage.”

The event included informational booths showcasing companies currently involved in the North Avenue Smart Corridor and others who are hoping to get involved in the future. Applied Information, a metro Atlanta-based company, is the partner providing all of the connected vehicle infrastructure for the corridor. The event also showcased an autonomous shuttle bus from Transdev, which circled the event on a closed loop.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563213693 2019-07-15 18:01:33 1570459716 2019-10-07 14:48:36 0 0 news On Thursday, September 14, the City of Atlanta launched the North Avenue Smart Corridor.

2017-09-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-25T00:00:00-04:00 2017-09-25 00:00:00 623357 623357 image <![CDATA[North Avenue Smart Corridor Launch]]> image/jpeg 1563213586 2019-07-15 17:59:46 1563213586 2019-07-15 17:59:46
<![CDATA[Capturing the Wind]]> 27980 At the corner of Fifth and Spring Streets in Tech Square, attached to a light pole, is a small sensor you’ve likely never noticed. It’s constantly monitoring environmental conditions in the area—temperature, air pressure, and humidity—and collecting and storing data. By the end of the year, a new environmental sensing device with a suite of measuring instruments will join it.

“This one will be a little more flashy because the interior portion will spin with the wind, so it may catch a few more eyes,” explained Noah Posner, research scientist with the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization and the IMAGINE Lab, who is part of the team that designed and built the open-source sensor device.

The new, more feature-rich sensor will gather data on wind speed and direction, light, and possibly even sound. It will be integrated into an existing network of 24 sensors across campus called the Georgia Tech Climate Network. The goal of the network, established by the Urban Climate Lab, is to “identify the location of hot spots, measure the impact of ongoing development on micro-climatic conditions, and assess how the use of vegetation and cool materials around campus can moderate warming trends,” according to the lab’s website.

While the existing sensors run on coin cell batteries, which researchers change manually, the new sensor is solar-powered. It collects data in real-time and periodically transmits the data using a long range, low power wireless platform called LoRa.

"The primary intention of this project is to provide an open platform of spatially distributed environmental sensors," said Matthew Swarts, project team member and senior research faculty in the College of Design. "This allows students and faculty to more easily explore and test novel algorithms for sensing human activity at the urban scale."

The 8-inch-wide carousel-shaped sensor is made of PETG, a tough, UV-resistant plastic commonly used to make food containers. Using the plastic, researchers can easily and inexpensively fabricate the sensor enclosure in small quantities. They’ll deploy the first sensor by the end of December, and 19 more by next spring.

This research is part of the IPaT Smart & Connected Communities Data Pilot Grant program. The grants provide funding for one semester to further data-centric, interdisciplinary research in the area of Smart & Connected Communities. Learn more about the project on Friday, December 1 at the Smart Cities Speaker Series at Atlanta City Hall.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1511986692 2017-11-29 20:18:12 1570459670 2019-10-07 14:47:50 0 0 news New sensors will gather wind speed data, and more, to better understand micro-climates.

2017-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2017-11-29T00:00:00-05:00 2017-11-29 00:00:00 Alyson Powell

Communications Officer

Institute for People and Technology

557991 557991 image <![CDATA[Matthew Swarts 2016]]> image/jpeg 1470160556 2016-08-02 17:55:56 1475895361 2016-10-08 02:56:01
<![CDATA[Georgia Tech Hosts Annual MetroLab Network Summit]]> 27980 Last week Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta co-hosted the Annual MetroLab Network Summit, which brought together more than 150 leading representatives from local government, major research universities, and relevant industry and nonprofit professionals for a two-and-a-half-day summit.

MetroLab Network is a group of more than 35 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics, and innovation to city government. The Network’s mission is to pair university researchers with city policymakers to undertake research, development, and deployment projects that improve our infrastructure, public services, and environmental sustainability.

The 2017 Summit was an opportunity for attendees to share, discuss, collaborate, and present their ideas and innovations in urban technology. Georgia Tech’s Executive Vice President of Research, Steve Cross, and President G.P. “Bud” Peterson kicked off the Summit on Wednesday morning by welcoming the participants to Atlanta.

Following the morning keynotes, SCII Managing Director, Debra Lam, moderated a panel on creating a culture of innovation with South Bend, Ind. Mayor, Pete Buttigieg, former Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, and former Mayor of Indianapolis, Stephen Goldsmith. The panel highlighted the importance of cities leveraging the resources that universities and colleges provide when it comes to urban innovation and smart city growth.

Throughout the next day and a half, Georgia Tech faculty and researchers from various departments sat on panels, led breakout sessions, and presented their work to improve the way cities operate and are experienced.

Dr. Amanda Meng spoke about her work with Westside communities build a local environmental data repository. Professor Chris Le Dantec participated in a breakout discussion about meaningful citizen engagement in data and R&D projects. Professor Ellen Zegura provided insights into effective student participation in applied research. Professor and lawyer Peter Swire presented his work on privacy and smart cities technologies. And lawyer Jesse Woo discussed the future of privacy and open data.

For videos of the presentations and more information about MetroLab check out the Summit website.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563210918 2019-07-15 17:15:18 1570459619 2019-10-07 14:46:59 0 0 news Georgia Tech and the City of Atlanta co-hosted the Annual MetroLab Network Summit, which brought together more than 150 leading representatives from local government, major research universities, and relevant industry and nonprofit professionals.

2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19 00:00:00 623341 623340 623341 image <![CDATA[MetroLab Network Summit]]> image/jpeg 1563210766 2019-07-15 17:12:46 1563210766 2019-07-15 17:12:46 623340 image <![CDATA[MetroLab Network Summit]]> image/jpeg 1563210717 2019-07-15 17:11:57 1563210717 2019-07-15 17:11:57
<![CDATA[Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy Launch]]> 27980 Open data is a key ingredient in smart cities. It has the ability, when deployed well and supported properly, to increase government transparency, citizen participation, and economic innovation and growth. Researchers at Georgia Tech are exploring how open data supports smart governance, looking specifically at its use in the creation and implementation of local energy efficiency policies and programs.

The research project, Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy, was officially launched last week at an event that brought together energy, data and urban governance experts from around the world to share their own insights and learn about Atlanta’s efforts to increase energy efficiency. Local expert speakers at the event included the GreenLink Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Xiaojing Sun, Atlanta’s Energy Programs Manager, Megan O’Neil, and Southface Energy Institute’s program coordinator, Mary Howard.

Having already investigated the work that goes into wrangling data and designing the smart city, this project will explore real-life examples of data-driven energy policy in the Southeastern U.S. in order to better understand the processes that lead from indirect efficiency programs to more formal energy policies at the city-scale.

The project is led by researchers at Georgia Tech's Center for Urban Innovation and Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation initiative in partnership with local public officials and experts from throughout the Southeast. It is funded by Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute's Energy Policy and Innovation Center (EPICenter), which is committed to understanding the processes behind and the approaches to data-driven and evidence-based policymaking.

This project is expected to yield insights into the various processes and strategies that are employed to support adoption and implementation of city-scale energy efficiency initiatives, the ways in which data are being used to support the creation and adoption of local energy efficiency policies, and ultimately how such data can be used to advance broader smart city goals.

]]> Alyson Key 1 1563211257 2019-07-15 17:20:57 1570459580 2019-10-07 14:46:20 0 0 news Researchers at Georgia Tech are exploring how open data supports smart governance.

2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19T00:00:00-05:00 2017-12-19 00:00:00 623343 623344 623343 image <![CDATA[Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy]]> image/jpeg 1563211078 2019-07-15 17:17:58 1563211078 2019-07-15 17:17:58 623344 image <![CDATA[Smart Cities and Data-Driven Energy Policy]]> image/jpeg 1563211102 2019-07-15 17:18:22 1563211102 2019-07-15 17:18:22