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#SmartConnectedCity Series: Dallas, Big Smart Things Happen Here

NewCitiesSummit2014If Dallas only brings images of football games and TV soap operas to mind, it’s time to re-consider this southern city.

A year ago, Dallas faced some challenges adopting comprehensive sustainability programs. But since then, the city has not stagnated in its journey to become smart and connected. Recently, Dallas has caught the attention of large technology companies, won grants, and been selected to hold thought leadership events.

This week, Dallas hosted the annual New Cities Summit, joining past host cities and world capitals Paris and São Paulo. The summit sponsor, New Cities Foundation, founded by Cisco and Ericsson, strives to incubate, promote, and scale urban innovations. The selection of Dallas as the summit’s 2014 location indicates its position as a city well on its way to becoming a technology hub.

Smart engagement between citizens and city services is just one of the priorities that make Dallas an emerging Smart + Connected Community (S + CC). Examples of the city’s thoughtful innovations over the past few years prove Dallas’s potential.

Empowering citizens to monitor communities in real-time.

Dallas 311, a free app for Android and Apple devices, allows anyone to file a mobile complaint to the city about graffiti, potholes, or any other code violations day or night. The user can document complaints with photos and then, most remarkably, track the city’s response. The app, which boosts community participation, encouraged a surge in reported complaints and facilitates problem solving for city officials.dallas_NCS2014

Bringing government transparency into the digital age.

In 2013, Dallas launched a data sharing initiative that contributes to effective governance and demonstrates the city’s commitment to transparent government. The Open Data Portal allows quick, free, and unrestricted access to public records online. This database is designed for regular updates and meets a connected cities’ evolving needs.

Prioritizing smarter security.

As a part of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the U.S., Dallas faces challenging security and safety concerns. Smart surveillance and evidence management technology allows the Dallas Police Department to close law enforcement cases more quickly and enhance crime victims’ experiences--while respecting privacy requirements. From video monitors that know when to alert an officer that a door is opening, to police vehicle dashboard cameras, these programs effectively utilize the court system to maintain security. Citizens even have access to captured video to privately review their own cases.

In addition to Dallas’ 311 app, Open Data Portal, and smart surveillance system, many more creative solutions to a modern’s city’s problems, from citywide smart information kiosks to a “My Inspector” city inspector mobile app, are underway.

As New Cities Summit 2014 brings attention to the emergence of this smart city, keep an eye out for new ideas coming out of Dallas in the upcoming year.

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