- Arizona State University (ASU) and Cox Communications will create a collaboratory to research and develop smart city infrastructure to help solve challenges for the greater Phoenix region.
- The Cox Connected Environments Collaboratory at ASU will act as an incubation center and convening space to work on internet of things (IoT) solutions for real-life urban challenges, including transportation, service delivery and energy. The partnership will build on ASU's Smart City Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) and reside in existing Innovation Zones on ASU's regional campuses.
- Cox will set up a wired and wireless network as part of ASU's NextGen Network. The company will also expand its existing gigabit network and fiber infrastructure.
Arizona is the largest market for the telecom Cox, which has also been working to expand into smart city infrastructure. The partnership with ASU will essentially give the company a working laboratory, as well as access to professors and students already working on IoT and other technology projects, said Barak Weinisman, vice president and general manager of the company's IoT arm Cox2M and Smart Communities.
"We're putting shoulder-to-shoulder investment into on-the-ground work, platform tools and staff to co-develop solutions with an eye towards making something that can scale," Weinisman told Smart Cities Dive. "We have enough talent and investment that we can basically start from a problem and a blank sheet of paper and work towards a solution."
University campuses have emerged as ideal test beds for smart city technology, since they essentially function as small cities themselves. That's allowed companies to test everything from IoT devices to autonomous vehicles (AVs) on campuses. ASU's CIC, for example, was set up with Amazon Web Services in order to test and research cloud-based innovations around governance, resilience and infrastructure. The campus has also tested a massive camera and sensor network to gather data, including in its sports stadiums.
Research at the collaboratory will help accelerate Phoenix's existing work to becoming a smart city and region. The city has already become a hub for autonomous and connected vehicles as the launch site for Waymo's autonomous taxi service; it has leveraged open data for hackathons and other projects; and in partnership with ASU created a first-in-the-nation small-scale waste project incubator.