5 smart cities players a step ahead of Google’s Sidewalk Labs
Just when it seemed that the hype around smart cities had reached a plateau, a new tech behemoth — and one with more street cred than most when it comes to genuine disruption — has decided to join the party.
The news officially came on Thursday, when Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page wrote on the Silicon Valley tech company’s own social media network that Google has made a long-term smart cities bet with a “relatively modest investment” in a new company called Sidewalk Labs.
Details so far are scant when it comes to specific technologies the company headed by former New York City Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff might look to pursue. A press release on the startup’s website calls out a handful of broad challenges for city residents, government officials and business tenants alike: “Making transportation more efficient and lowering the cost of living, reducing energy usage and helping government operate more efficiently… Sidewalk Labs will develop new products, platforms and partnerships to make progress in these areas.”
It’s also no secret that the smart cities segment as a whole is heavy on big ideas — seamless multi-modal transportation, sophisticated renewable energy grids, data-driven city service delivery for residents in all tax brackets — and light on concrete success stories showing how centralized technology systems can actually make daily life better in urban centers.