When cities aim to get smarter, improving connectivity isn't necessarily the first thing on their list of priorities. Likewise, when carriers aim to make cities smarter, helping disadvantaged communities and making citizens more mobile is usually not on their front burner.
That's why it's always interesting to hear from groups like US Ignite. They're right in the middle of this stuff and they are actively working to help cities, carriers and private sector businesses find the resources from one another to get to a place where things like public connectivity, tech-connected transportation and easy-to-access government data are a reality.
The way many companies would like to solve city problems is to build a bit of middleware that talks to everything and siphons money off the top line. But, US Ignite's Mari Silbey told Alan Breznick, that's not going to work. "The city folks don't want to hear that. They don't want to buy your platform. They don't necessarily trust you. They're worried they're going to get locked in, even if you tell them that it's open," Silbey said.
Instead, tech companies need to build relationships with city decision makers and work within the "entrepreneurial ecosystems" that those cities are trusting to filter and vet ideas. "So if you can get in there and figure out how to solve problems, as always, that's where the money is," Silbey said.
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- As an editor, Mari Silbey wrote more than 1,500 articles for Light Reading. Read them all and let us know which one's your favorite.
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