Charlotte City Manager Marcus D. Jones and Kate Johnson, president of Microsoft U.S., announced a three-year digital alliance and smart city initiative with Microsoft as part of Charlotte's sustainable city strategy.
The new agreement makes Charlotte the second city in the nation to take such a comprehensive smart city approach and provides Charlotte with access to Microsoft technologies to improve city services, support digital literacy and promote STEM workforce development. The goal of this effort is to create a regional center of excellence in workforce development, "internet of things" and innovation, with a sustained commitment to regional smart city startups and innovators.
The Internet of Things connects technology and data to aspects of everyday life. Cities across the globe have used it to modernize streetlights, save energy and maintenance costs, analyze traffic patterns to reduce congestion, and monitor public transit to better understand driving conditions to reduce emissions.
"Inspiring innovation and applying data science to make better decisions makes resident quality of life better," said Jones. "We are excited to work with Microsoft and value their commitment to our sustainable city strategy."
The City of Charlotte and Microsoft have identified five focus areas for pilot programs that will leverage technology and education to benefit the city's residents, businesses, and aspiring entrepreneurs. These focus areas are:
Upward mobility for residents
Smart transit systems
Public Wi-Fi connectivity
Public safety infrastructure, and
Throughout this collaborative program, Microsoft will support the city through various volunteer initiatives and will provide hands-on technology training at these events throughout the city. The public-private initiative aims to increase digital skills along the full continuum of the educational pipeline.
"Microsoft is proud to continue delivering on its promise to empower every person to achieve more. Building on the momentum of other smart city digital alliances like Houston, we're excited to provide the City of Charlotte with the platform for regional growth for generations to come," said Johnson. "Charlotte has built a range of exciting and sustainable strategies that shape both the region and its residents through the use of the latest technology. We are committed to helping them bring this to life."