Future Cities: Ridgeland, C Spire Partner to Drive “Smart City” Enablement in Mississippi

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Ridgeland, widely known as one of Mississippi’s most tech-savvy cities, will partner with C Spire in a smart city technology trial this fall involving smart lighting and vehicle traffic analytics applications.

City leaders and executives for C Spire, a Mississippi-based telecommunications and technology services company, made the joint announcement today at the Mississippi Municipal League’s 86th annual conference here. Over 3,200 local, state and federal officials attended the three-day conference at the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.

Ridgeland is one of a growing legion of cities across the U.S. and around the world that plan to invest an estimated $41 trillion over the next 20 years to upgrade their infrastructure using smart technology across a network of connected devices known as 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 test beds for new smart city applications in two of the most promising sectors – energy management and transportation-traffic control.

“Our community is well known across the state for our award-winning master plan 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,” McGee said.

A Money Magazine Top 100 place to live, 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 and has been recognized by technology titan Google for being home to the state’s strongest digital and online business community.

“We’re excited about taking the first step to bring smart city applications to communities like Ridgeland,” said Craig Sparks, vice president of Technology Strategy and Planning for C Spire. “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.”

McGee said Ridgeland 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.

C Spire will use its experience with Ridgeland to help guide its 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, Sparks said.