C Spire to conduct one of Mississippi’s first smart city technology trials in Ridgeland

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Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services company C Spire will lead a smart city technology trial this autumn in its home city of Ridgeland that will involve smart lighting and vehicle traffic analytics applications.

Ridgeland, widely known as one of the state’s most ‘tech savvy’ cities, is one of a growing number of conurbations across the USA and around the world that plan to invest an estimated US$41tr over the next 20 years to upgrade their infrastructure using smart technology across a network of connected devices through the Internet of Things (IoT).

While the two-month trial planned for October and November is being financed by C Spire, city officials said they are excited about becoming one of the state’s earliest testbeds for new smart city applications in two of the most promising sectors: energy management and transportation-traffic control. Ridgeland was one of the first cities in Mississippi to receive C Spire’s ultra-fast fiber-to-the-home Gigabit speed internet access services in 2014, with the network forming the foundations for its smart city system.

“Our community is well known across the state for our award-winning masterplan that guides our smart development efforts, and our commitment to healthy lifestyles and green spaces,” said Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee.

“This is a new way of thinking about how we use technology to make quality-of-life improvements our citizens want and need. New research and smart technology advances are helping cities make wholesale changes in how they tackle traffic management issues. A smart city can optimize traffic flow and commerce on congested roads and arterial streets through data analytics and connected signal sensors, saving time, fuel and operating costs. We will measure the success of the trial and develop future potential forays into smart city technology and IoT based on increased efficiencies, cost benefits, quality-of-life improvements for residents and economic development opportunities for businesses.”

Craig Sparks, vice president of technology strategy and planning for C Spire, commented, “We’re excited about taking the first step to bring smart city applications to communities like Ridgeland. This is not so much about deploying many disparate applications, but developing a broader vision to help cities become more efficient and reap important financial, social and environmental benefits. We will use our experience with Ridgeland to help guide our statewide smart, connected city and IoT strategy with other applications, including smart waste, smart lighting, smart parking, smart tourism, and smart building initiatives, among others.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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