Digital for all now

New York: 5 hashtags to explore the smartest city of 2016

Econocom 22 Dec 2016

In November 2016 at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, New York was voted “Best Smart City of 2016” in recognition of a series of innovative initiatives it has rolled out. One of the most striking of these involved deploying several thousand “digital kiosks,” next-generation telephone booths with free ultra-fast Wi-Fi. To boost innovation, the Big Apple is also facilitating the development of IoT projects by providing entrepreneurs with tools. Here’s the smartest city’s technologies summed up in 5 hashtags.




Gone are public phone boxes!  At the end of 2015, 3-metre high interactive kiosks started to pop up on the streets of New York. Launched by LinkNYC, the kiosks provide superfast, free public Wi-Fi and phone calls, 24/7. The aim of this ambitious project is to build the world’s biggest, fastest city Wi-Fi network.

The kiosks also feature microphones so New Yorkers and tourists can make free phone calls and USB ports for charging devices. And the whole project is funded through advertising: context-aware adverts are displayed on giant screens.




 “When used effectively, IoT devices—like sensors that capture pollution in the air or lights that only turn on when someone is in the room—can produce cost savings, bolster civic engagement, and strengthen public health and safety,” Jeff Merritt, Director of Innovation, New York Mayor’s Office of Tech + Innovation, told Cities Today.  It’s hardly surprising, then, that New York has published a set of guidelines for deploying IoT solutions, covering issues such as transparency, data management and security.




“A city can’t be smart without open data to help people with good ideas join the local digital ecosystem”, said Minerva Tantoco, the former CTO of New York, to the Journal du Net recently. Transport, education, healthcare, the environment, leisure: with NYC Open Data, New York published datasets so people can use them to create applications, do research and, together, build a better city.



Urbantech NYC is a programme to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the smart city and cleantech ecosystem, covering issues such as energy, mobility, waste management, water and digital infrastructures. In a 9,000m² space, innovators can use the various prototyping equipment or test their city infrastructures.




The city has also come up with, a platform whereby companies in the smart city sector can showcase their products, solutions and technologies to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life. The aim is to break down barriers between innovators and local government.


As you can see, New York has implemented a strategy involving deploying a set of tools in order to make the city smarter and more inclusive. A number of French cities have also begun rolling out similar initiatives: in 2015, our blog looked at Lyon and Issy-les-Moulineaux,  two exciting examples that prove that digital is very present in a number of French cities.

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