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Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerate 2020 puts IoT and connected spaces at center stage

Dec 10, 2020

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Following a year of extraordinary societal change that heightened the need for innovation and connectivity, Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerate 2020 virtual event was primed to be unique. The event, which took place on December 9, brought the Smart Cities and Smart Connected Spaces ecosystem — CIOs, CTOs, city managers, ODMs/OEMs, system integrators, mobile operators, and global technology solution providers — together to explore the most recent technology advancements, business models, and lessons for making Smart Connected Cities and Connected Spaces a reality.          

Since our inaugural event in 2019, we’ve reached several key milestones. Our Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator program membership has grown to ~300, with allocation of an initial $75 million from capital investment firms to jump-start projects. Additionally, we’ve made two additional announcements that directly support smart cities and connected spaces innovation: to deliver an end-to-end IoT Platform and IoT as a Service Across Multiple Verticals through our Qualcomm IoT Services Suite. 

We’re proud to say the virtual nature of this year’s event didn’t stop our guest speakers and colleagues from taking part and having insightful discussions about digital transformation, innovation, and the expansion of 5G in support of smart cities and connected spaces. 

In case you missed out, you can watch the full Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerate 2020 broadcast here. The following are some key highlights of this year’s virtual event:

Fireside chat: The intersection of smart cities and 5G

The event kicked off with a virtual fireside chat, featuring Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon and Verizon SVP Chief Product Officer Aamir Hussain. Moderated by Qualcomm Technologies Senior Vice President and IoT General Manager Jeff Lorbeck, Cristiano and Aamir discussed the nuances of smart cities and connected spaces, and the high potential of IoT for commercialization. Their chat also centered around how connected spaces can create new areas for innovation and growth, and how the expansion of 5G supports and accelerates the advancements of these technologies. 

Mayoral panel: Addressing modern broadband challenges

George Burciaga, Managing Partner at IGNITE CITIES, moderated this amazing panel of mayors — including Mayor Kirk Caldwell (Honolulu, HI), Mayor Francis X. Suarez (Miami, FL), and host Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC) – in a discussion of how future technologies like 5G can transform cities. The mayors discussed new city planning and business models that could get a boost from 5G, as well as how technology can support their cities’ ability to provide equitable access to broadband. Including the importance of strong public and private partnerships that work to benefit and support all citizens and cities. 

CTIA industry panel: The potential of connected communities

Attendees got to hear from the CTIA industry leaders in an inspiring panel centered on the greater potential of connected communities and IoT. Participants included Talin Aghazarian (Director of Government and Community Affairs, Modus), Ariel Brassil (Director of Strategy, AT&T Smart Cities & Communities), Dr. Brenda Connor (Director of Security Portfolio Application, Ericsson), and Karen Lightman (Executive Director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute of Carnegie Mellon University). The panel shared compelling points on how connectivity and IoT are tackling some of society’s toughest challenges, including access to remote education and telemedicine, and how connected communities can address inequities within both. The panel also covered how IoT technologies and 5G on the horizon can jump-start industry trends and innovations utilizing existing infrastructure, community engagement, and groundbreaking use of deployments. 

Qualcomm Smart Campus 

We were very excited to announce the official launch of our digitally transformed Qualcomm Smart Campus in San Diego. The campus replicates a smart city environment at the scale of a campus, featuring commercially available end-to-end solutions as implementation of a number of “smarts” — from lighting, parking, transportation, logistics, trash cans, and security. All campus capabilities can be viewed, managed, and controlled from our corresponding command center while providing insights and real-time data and activity across the many sensors. Our vision for the Smart Campus is for it to be continuously reimagined and replicated, promoting sophisticated IoT technologies, AI, and 5G technologies to be customized to the needs of various industries and communities. We couldn’t be more thrilled about this launch, and look forward to the innovations our ecosystem collaborators are helping to bring to life for commercial deployment.

Our new solutions

Qualcomm Technologies and Infinite teams shared exciting solutions that we are developing right now, including innovative AI-driven IoT applications using Zyter SmartSpaces IoT platform. They dove into “IoT as a Service” and how the Zyter SmartSpaces platform is enabling intelligent end-to-end digital transformation through the Qualcomm IoT Services Suite. With the ability to deploy rapidly across multiple verticals, these new solutions can unlock connected spaces and smart cities at large. 

The impact of COVID-19 on industry innovation

This year’s virtual event wrapped up with insightful presentations on the impact of COVID-19, featuring Ashok Tipirneni (Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies) and Sneha Murali (Business Development Manager, Qualcomm Technologies). The duo discussed the pandemic’s impact on education and healthcare and introduced Education and Connected Healthcare-as-a-service as end-to-end deployable solutions from collaborating companies OneScreen, Hovercam and Ceiba. In the discussion, the importance of 5G expansion was reiterated as one of the major accelerators in creating equitable broadband solutions for the people and industries most impacted by the pandemic. This was also echoed as part of the Mayoral panel. 

The success of this year’s virtual event stands as a testament to the community’s devotion to digital transformation, continued innovative thinking, and the proven effectiveness of our accelerator program. It has also highlighted the imminence of 5G technology and the readiness of our cities to start benefiting from Qualcomm Technologies smart solutions that can be deployed today across multiple verticals (including smart cities, construction, healthcare, education, and logistics). Our  goal has and always will be to continue to bring the Smart Cities ecosystem together to educate and bring awareness to technology that can enrich lives and transform industries. We can’t wait to meet with you all again next year.

Qualcomm Smart Cities Services Suite is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

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