IPaT Hosts Inaugural Industry Innovation Day

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IPaT Hosts Inaugural Industry Innovation Day

Alyson Powell
April 20, 2016
“Smart and Connected Communities” was the focus of IPaT’s first Industry Innovation Day on April 13th in Tech Square. Guests enjoyed thought-provoking talks and panel discussions from Georgia Tech faculty, business leaders, city officials, and entrepreneurs.

The day started with a breakfast panel on how to “Work with Tech.” Panelists talked about possible first steps in engaging with Georgia Tech such as connecting with many of the Institute’s interdisciplinary research institutes (IRIs), and what a successful strategic partnership looks like.

IPaT Deputy Director Leigh McCook said, “A successful industry partnership would grow both in duration as well as breadth.”

IPaT Executive Director Beth Mynatt then welcomed attendees by outlining IPaT’s campus network, mission, and research, and how we’re working to create smart cities and communities. She asked, “How do we design the fabric of these communities so they can be resilient and meet challenges that arise?”

Jennifer Clark, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Urban Innovation introduced IID keynote speaker Aaron Deacon. Deacon is managing director of KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit civic tech startup supporting technology projects that increase economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for people in Kansas City.

Deacon discussed collaborating with the Kansas City mayor’s office to capitalize on next generation infrastructure, how he helped Kansas City prepare to be the first market for Google Fiber, and what a smart city looks like on both the micro and macro levels—which he said includes not only connectivity, but also citizen engagement.

Ryan Gravel, Georgia Tech graduate and visionary behind the Atlanta BeltLine, delivered the IID plenary address. He gave attendees a glimpse of his new book, “Where We Want to Live – Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities.” The book makes a case for how we can address challenges related to traffic, divided neighborhoods, and a non-walkable life with projects like the BeltLine, which connects 40 diverse Atlanta neighborhoods to city schools, shopping districts, and public parks.

Gravel explained how the BeltLine emerged after a period of decline in Atlanta and galvanized a broad cross section of residents. “The people of Atlanta believed in this project before anyone else did,” he said.

The next panel focused on “Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Living.” Panelists discussed equity and access as it relates to technology, and shared their thoughts on how cities should prioritize data gathering.

“Technology is great,” said City of Atlanta Commissioner and CIO Samir Saini, “but what objective is it achieving? What civic problem is it solving?”

During the final panel discussion of the afternoon— “Cities of the Future”—moderator Hamish Caldwell of Wireless Insiders Network asked the panel, “In your area of focus, how do you hope life will be different in the city [in the future]?”

Answers ranged from driverless cars and buses, better infrastructure, to more public/private partnerships. Kari Watkins, assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said she’d like to see more social interaction in our modes of transportation “by making cities more walkable, bikeable, and transit friendly.”

Continuing the day’s theme of industry engagement, IPaT announced a new partnership with the Atlanta Braves to develop curriculum for STEM Day and collaborate on future projects. Andrew Zimmerman, Atlanta Braves Vice President of Marketing said, “We’re honored to be the first professional team to partner with Georgia Tech.”

Industry Innovation Day concluded with open house tours of ATDC, SimTigrate, and I3L, plus the GVU Center and Digital Media Spring Research Showcase. Guests of the showcase experienced more than 80 interactive Georgia Tech research projects.

VIEW: Industry Innovation Day photos and GVU/Digital Media Spring Research Showcase photos
Additional Media: 
"Work With Tech" panelists: Greg King, Siva Jayaraman, Jarrett Ellis, Leigh McCook
"Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Living" panelists: Ryan Gravel, Renee Autumn Ray, Samir Saini, Jennifer Clark, Ben Levine, Volkan Topalli
"Cities of the Future" panelists: Ellen Dunham-Jones, Jeff Evans, Hamish Caldwell, Christopher Le Dantec, Kari Watkins

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