Predictive. Adaptive. Responsive. That’s life in the Big City … Now
Population experts predict eight in ten people will be living in cities by 2050. The U.N.says urban population will double in that period, adding another 2.5 to 3 billion people in the next 35 years. Sustainable living and eco-responsible resources must be provided for this tidal wave of urbanites. Are town planners and national governments prepared? The answer to that question remains to be seen, but towns like the Panasonic-developed Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (SST) in Japan can go a long way to ease the growing pains. With the success of Fujisawa, the stage is set to emulate the SST model in other parts of the world. The high-tech city of Denver is taking the lead in the US.
A city well known for its progressive approach to sustainable technologies, Denver recently partnered with Panasonic to develop solutions that will help meet its 21st century sustainability goals. Here’s a look at CityNOW. But first, let’s backtrack a step.
Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town now in full operation
Open in late 2014, Fujisawa SST is a first-of-its-kind model for 21st century urban development. Guided by Panasonic holistic tech solutions, the eco-inspired village consists of about 1,000 smart homes, housing some 3,000 residents. In addition to sensor-activated lighting and energy-saving appliances, every home comes with solar panels on the roof, solar power generators, and energy storage batteries. Energy monitors allow residents to correct eco-unfriendly consumption habits. Every residence is hooked up to a smart grid which balances supply and demand of electricity more efficiently than traditional power grids. The result is less waste, lower energy costs, and a reduced carbon footprint. Town officials expect a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional neighborhoods. In an emergency, the town can sustain itself for three days, usually enough time until grid power is restored.
Where Denver’s plans and CityNOW intersect
Denver wants similar smart-city technology to drive its new transit-oriented development project that will connect commuter hub Pena Station with Denver International Airport. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock envisions the airport and Pena Station to be more than just a transit hub. A lot more. Panasonic Eco Solutions Company president, Jim Doyle, cites Mayor Hancock’s vision as a determining factor to not only partner with the Mile High City but also relocate its Enterprise Solutions.
headquarters to Denver. Technology-minded and forward thinking, Hancock sees a connected community that supports citizens and businesses with smart, sustainable technologies. By implementing a responsive infrastructure that taps into real-time analytics, leverages big data, and lives among the Internet of Things, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Picture this: you round a corner and the streetlights illuminate to brighten your path. After you pass, they dim to conserve energy. Pull into a crowded shopping mall and your car’s in-dash system locates the closest available parking space. Approach the subway platform and an alert on your phone tells you the arrival time of the next train. This is just a glimpse into the possibilities of a responsive city infrastructure. It’s also a key component in the world of Panasonic CityNOW, where connected technology and real-time data work together to predict, adapt, and respond to people’s needs.
The Time is NOW
And it’s all happening now. One early initiative will be to develop a microgrid energy storage solution for the airport. The project will substantiate the effectiveness of high capacity batteries in microgrid applications. It’s just one part of a larger plan that includes a 1.3 megawatt AC canopy solar installation to service the grid and provide backup power. Xcel Energy and its subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado, will partner on this essential infrastructure component. Xcel will own the installation and Panasonic will service it.
The second phase currently in development is the deployment of smart LED streetlights at the airport. These solar-powered lights will brighten when foot traffic is sensed and dim when no pedestrians are around. In addition to saving energy, built-in security cameras will enhance commuter safety.
Current and upcoming projects will be supported by the light rail line set to begin operating in spring 2016. Starting at the center of downtown Denver and ending at the airport, the line will have seven stops including Pena Station and Panasonic Enterprise Solutions headquarters. More importantly, it will tie the sprawling city together, allowing the transit-oriented development to thrive in connected, eco-friendly ways never before seen by an American city.
Integrating technology from Panasonic consumer electronics, commercial solar, battery storage, and automotive infotainment systems, smart cities are the next logical innovation frontier. Further initiatives are slated to progress from pilot to statewide activation in the coming years. From concept to design, each phase will make life safer, more connected, and more sustainable for Denver residents. So be on the lookout in a city near you soon. Panasonic plans to bring CityNOW solutions to communities throughout North America and beyond.