Kansas City To Become The Largest 'Smart City' In North America

Apr 23, 2015

Credit Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Kansas City Council has approved a $15 million agreement with San Francisco based Cisco Systems Inc., to turn a two mile stretch of the streetcar line into a "Smart City" network. 

The project calls for the creation of interactive digital kiosks that share information about events and city services with pedestrians.

Data about infrastructure and traffic will be detected by sensors and sent back to the city in real time.

Ashley Hand, the chief innovations officer for Kansas City, says the city will become a "Living Lab" where entrepreneurs can test innovations and technologies in a real "Smart City" environment, putting Kansas City at the forefront of the growing Internet of Everything (IoE) industry. 

"We would become not just a national, but a global leader in cultivating this ecosystem around IoE technology," says Hand.

The "Smart City" network is expected to use a public Wi-Fi system that would also be available to residents and visitors for free. 

Mayor Sly James says this project will put Kansas City at the forefront of digital breakthroughs.

“When people come into this city they will see something they will see no place else. It won’t be in New York, it won’t be in LA, it won’t be in Silicon Valley. It won’t be in any of those places that people think are cool,” says James

The "Smart City" network will cost Kansas City $3.7 million with Cisco Systems and partners supplying the other roughly $12 million.