November 18, 2016 at 5:00 am ET
Leaders in U.S. communities large and small are embracing the modern mandate to “get smart.” New and emerging mobile broadband applications—running on ever more powerful 4G and ultimately 5G wireless networks—offer enormous opportunities to improve public services, lower costs and build communities that are more economically and environmentally sustainable for local residents and businesses. From safer communities to more efficient transit systems, community-wide, wireless-enabled innovation holds the potential to transform our communities and our lives. So the stakes are high for the success of these locally led efforts.
I recently moderated a panel at the National League of Cities’ City Summit, at which community leaders discussed building smarter, mobile cities. Future-focused panels are always inspiring, and this panel was no different. We discussed how communities of all sizes can lead the smart revolution, real-world strategies already underway and resources are available to help.
These topics also are the subject of a Mobile Future report released at the summit, Get Smart: The Ground-Up Revolution to Connect and Transform American Communities. It addresses the critical need to create environments that support investment in wireless infrastructure, and next generation technologies like 5G, to maximize the impact of smart communities. Particularly salient among the considerations the report recommends:
The report also highlights communities of all size who are leading by example today.
This is just a snapshot of the kinds of innovative community efforts taking place across the country as part of this ground-up revolution. Thanks to a rising tide of local leadership—and rich collaboration across the public, private and nonprofit sectors—the connected future of communities is fast arriving.
Combine this with the fact that infrastructure also is shaping up to be a top priority across party lines in Washington, and our nation has a potentially historic opportunity for next-generation infrastructure that is smarter, more efficient and more nimble in its service to all of our citizens. It’s a smart idea. It will take all of us working together. And, it’s worth it. The potential benefits to communities across the country—if we succeed in marrying smart technologies to smart policies and smart resources—is virtually limitless.
Diane Smith is a board adviser to Mobile Future. She is an attorney, entrepreneur and author who has worked on the launch of competitive long distance, mobile and IPTV industries.
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