In the continued spirit of positioning Detroit as an open tech hub for entrepreneurs and inventors comes the Urban Tech Xchange (UTX), a first-of-its-kind collaborative lab that will host a series of startups with the goal of advancing new smart city technologies. Its presence effectively adds another layer to Detroit’s creator ecosystem that further positions the city as the ideal place to launch the ideation of new technology and innovation companies.
UTX is a collaboration between Bedrock, Bosch, Cicso, and KODE Labs and will be operated by NextEnergy. As the evolving urban landscape continues to change how humans, the environment, and infrastructure interact, the space will provide a real-world test facility for the progression of new urban technology, and infrastructure systems, putting Detroit at the forefront of smart city development.
Located right downtown at 1520 Woodward, UTX was unveiled Wednesday, and Detroitisit was there.
Said Mayor Mike Duggan,
In the early part of the last century Detroit is where America came to build the future. The automobile was created and designed on the same blocks that surround the building that’s now housing the UTX. And now, Detroit will be the city where people come to design the future – again.
This unique combination of resources including global tech companies Bosch and Cisco, KODE Labs’ smart building platform, and the largest real estate developer in Detroit will offer participants access to the infrastructure and data needed to tackle modern cities’ biggest challenges.
To that end, Kofe Bonner, CEO Bedrock,
Why is a real estate company in the middle of this conversation? Because it just so happens this real estate company has 19 million square feet of development in this great city with masses of data emanating from the buildings and space. If we can get this data in front of brilliant minds we can design and develop smarter buildings to improve energy usage, create new jobs, diversify, and fundamentally improve the urban experience.
UTX is modeled after the success of the Detroit Smart Parking Lab (DSPL) — a joint venture between Bedrock, Bosch, Ford and the State of Michigan that provides a platform for startups to test and demonstrate solutions for last-mile mobility, sustainable and intelligent parking and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure improvement.
In just over two years, the DSPL has been home to 25 start-ups, 80% of which came from out of state.
About UTX, Jim Saber, President and CEO of NextEnergy said, “There are two challenges that make up the backbone of this mission. The first is energy demand management – how we use energy and become more efficient. The second is automation – how we create and automate buildings to perform better. We need to link these two things together and create innovative solutions to build stronger urban communities for the future.”
UTX participants are provided with a dedicated coworking space plus: access to Bedrock’s operational data; direct integration into KODE Lab’s smart building platform; a secure, extensible network powered by Cisco; universal Power-over-Ethernet (UPoE), delivering up to 90 watts of power to connect; and powerlighting, shades, sensors, cameras, and more to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Upon opening, initial UTX deployments include:
- East Riverfront Sensor Network: Developed by Bosch, and deployed on Bedrock properties along the East Riverfront, these concepts will support the assessment of neighborhood environmental health by measuring air quality, and ambient sound and identifying traffic patterns to assist with management of the total ecosystem including topics such as landscape and urban design, vehicle navigation and site accessibility.
- KODE Labs Machine Learning and AI-Powered Modules: Modules designed to help lower energy usage and equipment run-time across real estate portfolios. This next-generation technology can substantially reduce operating costs by limiting overall energy usage and equipment runtime.
- Cisco Infrastructure: Cloud-managed high-definition Cisco Meraki video cameras, Cisco Webex collaboration devices, and a Cisco network will support the latest wireless standard – Wi-Fi 6E – and deliver up to 90 watts of power via UPoOE. This infrastructure will support lab participants with a powerful and secure networking technology platform to form the foundation for the next generation of smart city applications and solutions, including density and location analytics, hybrid workspace collaboration, and enhanced city services.
- UTX deployments will be used to provide policymakers, urban designers and real estate developers critical insights and information toward creating sustainable and environmentally conscious urban hubs.
In closing, Duggan says, “Not only does UTX drive innovation, it opens it up and invites people from all over the world to share in it. Because our goal is not to monopolize, but to create a city where talent wants to be, and to share in a common goal – and we will all be better off for it.”
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