Carson City pushes to be a smart city

Carson City is working on new online applications to better serve residents and businesses.

One application would utilize a reverse emergency call system, called Code Red, to text residents a link to a digital map on the city’s website with up to the minute information on floods, fires and other emergencies.

The plan is to make that available this spring, according to Nick Marano, Carson City city manager.

Another is a para-medicine program that would allow EMTs to work remotely with emergency room doctors to deliver care on the spot and, in some cases, avoid a trip to the hospital.

That application, which would require a new ambulance and an agreement with Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, is probably at least a year away.

A third project is to develop a map of the city’s infrastructure to provide information many businesses require when setting up shop in the city.

The city will start work on programming the code on that project in June, said Marano.

All the applications are part of Carson City’s ongoing push to be a smart city — interconnected, transparent and responsive.

Marano discussed the new applications Tuesday during a panel on smart cities hosted by Sierra Nevada Forums.

The panel featured Marano and Miya Mackenzie, chief professional officer at Carson City’s Adam’s Hub; Maureen McKissick, assistant to the Reno City manager; and Kevin Lyons, CEO, Governance Sciences Group and a smart cities entrepreneur. Carson City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski moderated the event.

The panelists agreed the goal of the smart cities movement is for municipalities to provide data on everything from traffic tie-ups to government spending in an effort to be more transparent and responsive to its residents.

“You can’t get away from the technical aspect of smart cities, the Internet of things,” Marano told the audience of about 50 people at the Brewery Arts Performance Hall.

The city last fall launched Carson City Connect, a phone application people can use to report a stranded vehicle or a downed tree to the city.

“You can take a picture of the abandoned car and within 24 hours we’ll respond and tow the car,” Marano said.

“Trust in government is at an all-time low and we’re using Connect to change that one resident at a time.”

Marano said the city also is looking at a pilot of free high-speed Internet on Third Street, which is being turned into a pedestrian mall.

“We’re looking at a couple different options with outside firms,” to build the infrastructure and provide the service, he said.

In terms of transparency, anyone can find how the city spends money at Carson City Open Expenditures at its web site.

The City of Reno learned a valuable lesson when it posted its spending online, said McKissick.

“People said this is not even vaguely interesting,” said the assistant to the Reno city manager. “It was raw data with no analytics.”

That’s a lesson for all cities working to be smarter, said Lyons.

Smart cities take more than technology.

“Technology does not equal smart,” he said. “Smart people make good decisions and smart cities make good decisions for its citizens.

“The core difference between smart cities and dumb cities is smart cities are doing what people want.”


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment