The Smart American City

The Smart American City

On December 10, 2019, the Hitachi Group sponsored “The Smart American City,” organized by Axios, a cutting-edge news site at AJAX in Washington D.C.

The event provided an opportunity for government officials, influencers, and key local stakeholders in Washington D.C. to further understand Hitachi’s Social Innovation Business.

At the event, four high-level speakers joined Axios editor, Kim Hart, on stage for a series of in-depth, one-on-one conversations about the future of smart cities, highlighting technology like AI and IoT. Also participating was Mr. Hicham Abdessamad, President and Chief Executive Officer at Hitachi. 165 notable guests from a cross-section of organizations and industries were in attendance and active on social media with #Axios360.

Hicham Abdessamad, Chief Executive, Global Social Innovation Business, Hitachi, Ltd. and Chairman of the Board, Hitachi America, Ltd.

Hicham Abdessamad, Chief Executive Global Social Innovation Business, Hitachi ltd and Chairman of the board Hitachi America ltd.
Photo: Jeff Snyder for Axios

In View from the Top Segment, Hicham Abdessamad sat down with Axios Executive Vice President Evan Ryan to discuss leveraging available data in cities to solve big problems around congestion. He highlighted the success of a recent initiative in Tequila, Mexico, which tracked the flow of people in and around the city center. Learn how City of Tequila is moving forward towards a smart future with Hitachi.

  • On looking at the big picture: "It's not really about smart cities. It's about solving big problems."
  • On utilizing available data to create smart cities: “If you start talking to people about congestion, traffic, and a better quality of life for citizens, then the cost of a smart city becomes a lot more attractive. Data sits at the core of that because we don't have the luxury to build cities from scratch all day."

Kim Nelson, Executive Director, State and Local Government Solutions, Microsoft

Kim Nelson at The Smart American City sponsored by Hitachi Group
Photo: Jeff Snyder for Axios

Executive Director of State and Local Government Solutions at Microsoft, Kim Nelson, discussed the challenges for cities of all sizes to figure out what their top priorities are for leveraging technology, both in the short and long term.

  • On what it means to be a smart city: "Smart isn't simply about the technology. It's not about just the infrastructure, the sensors or the hardware. Being smart is about having the information."

Jeff Marootian, Director, District Department of Transportation

Jeff Marootian speaking at The Smart American City sponsored by Hitachi group
Photo: Jeff Snyder for Axios

Director of the District Department of Transportation, Jeff Marootian, discussed how transit in Washington, D.C. has changed in the past ten years, and how the advent of ride-sharing apps has put pressure on the curbside.

  • How cities are fundamentally reimagining how the curbside works: "[D.C.] recently finished a pilot program with a curbside reservation system which allows for commercial delivery drivers to reserve curbside access so they don't have to circle around a block in order to find a place to pull over, to make a delivery or to do a food pickup.

Rep. Yvette Clarke and Rep. Susan Brooks, Congressional Caucus on Smart Cities Co-chairs

Yvette Clarke and Susan Brooks at The Smart American City event sponsored by Hitachi Group
Photo: Jeff Snyder for Axios

Congressional Caucus on Smart Cities Co-chairs Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) took the stage together to discuss constituents' priorities around access, cybersecurity, and privacy as cities continue to get smarter.

Rep. Yvette Clarke

  • On converting phone booths into wi-fi kiosks: "It's nowhere near what it needs to be in terms of being ubiquitous throughout the city of New York. But we know that the infrastructure and the commitment is there. And that commitment and investment has yielded dividends already."

Rep. Susan Brooks

  • On preparing the workforce of the future, particularly around cybersecurity: "We have to invest in those strategies at all levels of education, whether it's the teams in schools, whether it's coding camps, whether it's certification programs. We've got to think very differently about higher education and about how we are ensuring that everybody is ready for what is coming."