Panel maps out how Birmingham will become a Smart City

Moderator Mashonda Taylor of the Woodlawn Foundation introduces the Think Next panel discussion. Panelists are, from left, Paula Alvarez Pino, University of Alabama at Birmingham Program Director of Sustainable Smart Cities Research; John Smola, Alabama Power Director of Business Transformation and Administration, and Brandon Johnson, City of Birmingham Director of Community Engagement. [Photo Credit: Dennis Washington/Alabama NewsCenter]

Birmingham’s Innovation Week is a celebration of the disruptive ideas and ventures evolving in the city’s technology community.

In line with the city’s growing tech ecosystem are various initiatives to transform Birmingham into a Smart City using data and technology to make it more livable and sustainable. These plans were outlined Tuesday during an Innovation Week session called Think Next: How Birmingham’s Becoming a Smart City.

The homes in Reynolds Landing, Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood, have high-tech energy-efficient features and the latest in smarthome controls for the homeowner. [Photo via Alabama News Center]

Touching on various initiatives underway that helped the city win a Readiness Challenge Grant from the Smart Cities Council earlier this year, speakers mapped out projects using digital technology to help improve public safety, energy and transportation.

Projects in the pipeline include an open data portal, smart street lighting, community Wi-Fi and a bus rapid transit. The City of Birmingham’s crime reduction initiative, Operation Step Up, also is included. Resources from the readiness grant will accelerate the efforts.

The session featured a panel of individuals who were instrumental in the Smart Cities Council grant process and who are closely involved in ongoing innovation efforts: Brandon Johnson, City of Birmingham Director of Community Engagement; John SmolaAlabama Power Director of Business Transformation and Administration, and Paula Alvarez PinoUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham Program Director of Sustainable Smart Cities Research.

The conversation was moderated by Mashonda Taylor, chief Community Relations officer for the Woodlawn Foundation.

The panel provided updates on these projects, and touched on potential opportunities for further collaboration and expansion in the future.

Check out how the grant is accelerating Birmingham’s Smart City efforts on the session’s live stream below.

Think Next: How Birmingham is Becoming a Smart City from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.