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05.16.2018 / Press

Spotlighting Detroit at Smart Cities New York

In Manhattan, Rocket Fiber joined the ranks of mayors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders for three days of conversation and workshops at Smart Cities New York. Rocket Fiber moved through discussions spanning from broadband to blockchain and even took to the stage, spotlighting the company’s work in Detroit.

As Smart Cities Dive shared, “speakers covered a wide gamut of areas where city leaders are looking to innovate and improve their citizens’ lives. With speakers including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Iceland President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, there was plenty of star power on hand to share best practices with city leaders, private companies and other stakeholders.”

The conference made quite clear that partnerships between the public and private sector are necessary in driving innovation. Technology ought to be viewed as a way to engage more citizens with their governments. It is less fruitful to see technology as a unique development that city leaders take on just for the sake of having it. The goal is not technology,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago said. “Technology enhances what you’re trying to get towards, but technology is a means, not an end.”

It’s clear that cities are taking charge on policy issues and smart city deployments. “Smart cities” offers the opportunity to create digital equity if utilized appropriately. On a Detroit-focus panel, Rocket Fiber highlighted the work of its recent study with Michigan State University’s Quello Center, stressing equity in broadband deployments and devices needed for education and job access.

Ultimately, through conversations and relationship building with a variety of international guests, founder of Smart Cities New York, Jerry Hultin nailed it, where he stressed that we need to recognize that innovation and research cannot sit in municipal silos.  “We’ve got the world here to talk about smart cities so that American cities can learn.”

See more in the Smart Cities Dive article here.

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