Dallas Business Journal: The DEC, AT&T, city of Dallas link up for Dallas Innovation Alliance's Smart Cities initiative

Danielle Abril, Dallas Business Journal -- September 14, 2015


The Dallas Entrepreneur Center is teaming up with AT&T (NYSE: T) along with other organizations, companies and the city of Dallas to create the Dallas Innovation Alliance, which will focus on a smart city initiative in Dallas.

The announcement, made in conjunction with the inaugural Smart Cities Week, was released at the White House Smart Cities Forum on Monday.

“The goal is to really be able to drive the adoption of smart-city solutions,” said Michael Zeto, general manager of AT&T’s Smart Cities organization. “We really want to be able to create a partner framework to provide data back to the cities so we can understand how to best move forward.”

The Dallas Innovation Alliance, a public-private partnership, will be lead by the DEC and include founding charter members like the city of Dallas, IBM, Microsoft, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the Dallas Regional Chamber and Downtown Dallas Inc.

“Dallas has been a pioneer in driving innovative, entrepreneurial solutions in the US, and many organizations across the city are undertaking creative solutions to address urban challenges,” Trey Bowles, CEO of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, said in a released statement. “As a major metropolitan area with a strong business climate and 21 Fortune 500 companies located in the region, this is the right time for Dallas to undertake a dedicated, comprehensive smart city plan with the goal of creating the most consumer focused smart city strategy in the world.”

The alliance intends to deploy smart cities solutions in the West End Historic District in downtown Dallas.

AT&T has played in the Internet of Things space for 10 years, and plans to leverage its experience and knowledge to deploy solutions. New offerings could include smart lighting, which would allow maintenance crews to easily locate and replace broken bulbs; smart parking, which could save energy by only lighting up when cars approach; smart transportation, which could organize traffic flow based on the number of vehicles and pedestrians present and also let commuters know when the next bus or train will arrive; public safety, which could include things like gun-fire technology; and smart buildings, which could include a number of sensors to save energy and resources. The alliance’s work will be complemented by the city of Dallas and Texas Research Alliance’s participation in the MetroLab Network. The national effort, also announced Monday at the White House, is a consortium of university-city teams focused on sharing solutions to problems in urban infrastructure.

The alliance plans to leverage insights from recent initiatives including the 2014 New Cities Summit, Downtown Dallas 360 Plan and Dallas’ IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant.

Dallas is the first city in which AT&T plans to launch the initiative.

“The plan over the next several months is to stand up resources and the team,” Zeto said, adding that the timing for the alliance matched up with AT&T’s timing to start a smart cities organization. “We have the opportunity to pitch in and help. It can be a model for other cities.”