Gov't Officials and Industry Experts Explore Regional Smart Cities Opportunities at Impact Ohio


Congressman Bob Latta, State Representative Ryan Smith, AT&T's Director of Intelligent Cities Jamie Sullivan, and Venture Smarter Founder Zack Huhn discussed technology, policy, and automation at the Impact Ohio Conference in Toledo on Friday, September 15th. Katie Moline of EPIC Toledo led the open discussion and facilitated questions from the audience that pointed to an electrified energy around smart cities and regional collaborations. Jennifer Flatter, Impact Ohio's CEO, opened the sold-out event welcoming more than 25 elected officials and over 200 guests to explore regional collaborations and smart cities opportunities in and around Toledo.

Bob Latta.png

As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection on emerging and innovative technologies, Congressman Bob Latta shared how legislation, like the recently passed SELF DRIVE ACT, can benefit Ohio. It's all about collaboration and creating better, safer places to live... There are now 40,000 annual transportation fatalities and millions of traffic-related injuries.  The legislation in DC isn’t just enabling technology experts to solve public safety-related problems of fatalities and injuries in transportation, but it also enables greater access to mobility for people of all backgrounds.

Zack Huhn

Zack Huhn, Founder of Venture Smarter and Chairman of IEEE Smart Cities Working Group, brought the conversation full circle when sharing the potential benefit that can come from taking advantage of these opportunities, “Every time in history that we've seen a paradigm shift in transportation, we have seen the quality of life double.”  

Ryan Smith.jpeg

State Representative Ryan Smith discussed how public-private partnerships can benefit Ohioans and the importance of connecting rural and suburban populations, not just cities and population centers. In line with a key tenet of Regional Smart Cities Initiatives, connecting urban, suburban, and rural residents with broadband, cellular, and mesh connectivity and igniting Main Street America's economic development and social mobility.

jamie sullivan.jpg

Jamie Sullivan, who leads AT&T and GE’s efforts with ‎Intelligent City, IoT and Data Analytic Solutions, shares that the people utmost responsible for implementing digital infrastructure necessary for connection are those in the mayor’s office and those who own the utility poles.


The panel, properly named 'Emerging Smart Cities and Opportunities for the Region', shared insights on various themes including:

  • Data, security, privacy
  • Social mobility & economic development
  • Smart and intelligent systems
  • Smart transportation and autonomous vehicles
  • Smart City planning standards, revenue modeling, and IT framework
  • Creating talent and innovation hubs

Overall, the Impact Ohio Toledo Conference was a great opportunity for people from a range of backgrounds in business, corporate, entrepreneurial, public policy, and elected office - all of which are citizens or consumers - to collaborate and move the smart cities conversation forward. These events represent necessary action items to build connected communities, and moreover, represent complementary efforts to the Regional Smart Cities Initiatives launched by Venture Smarter.

If you’re interested in joining the conversation or simply learning more, register for the Smart Regions Conference on October 25th.  The Smart Regions Conference will educate and align key stakeholders around available resources and addressable opportunity areas in cities and regions. The conference will establish Smart City Development Goals for municipal leaders and further announce a collaborative framework for regional planning. Elected and public officials, academic and business leaders, and community members committed to smart regional growth are joining us for the conference and first-ever Midwest IoT Showcase, which will feature smart city technologies, team drone racing, and more interactive experiences.


This article was originally published here.