Smart Technology and Emergency Response

Large storms that hit the DFW area on the day after Christmas killed 11 people, devastated homes, displaced families and scattered pets in their wake.  Reading a story in the Dallas Morning News this Monday morning reminded me of just how much smart technology  north Texas already uses to help emergency responders, city officials, weather experts  and citizens.  In  the story Ruben Porras was talking with his wife when the unthinkable happened.  She screamed and the screen went black.  He utilized the “Find my Friends” app on his phone to locate her.  Tragically she received fatal injuries when her SUV was swept off an overpass by a tornado.  Read the story here.   The simple and inexpensive App allowed the husband to quickly locate his wife and that is incredibly powerful.

Along with improved radar, predictive modelling and other advancements in meteorology other technologies are improving survival and response to major weather events.   Amidst what sometimes feels like Henny Penny style  “sky is falling” breaking weather news it is clear that far fewer people lost their lives in these tornadoes including a massive EF4 Tornado  because of the technology that allows for the early warnings.  Rowlett reported no fatalities, though nearly 450 buildings there were damaged or destroyed.  Mayor Todd Gottel told the Dallas Morning News  “It’s an absolute miracle, as far as I’m concerned” .

Social media applications and group pages are helping people reunite with pets. In the recent terrorist attack in Paris Facebook users were  prompted to check in as “I’m Safe” which alerts family and friends immediately even if they are half way around the world. If you are stranded and in need of help, a mobile phone can be a life saving lifeline.  Internet of Things, Big Data,  wearable technology and other new technologies will change many things in the coming years.

We are fortunate to have some major initiatives going on right here in the Dallas Area.  Earlier this year, Dallas startup accelerator Tech Wildcatters launched a program focused on wearable technology for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel (see article here).

As technology continues to advance, we are certain to see even more improvements in keeping the public safe by predicting and planning for events, responding to emergencies and enabling citizens to protect themselves or reach out for help.


Visualizing Urban expansion

The NYU Stern Urbanization Project harnesses the growth of cities to speed up global progress. The world’s urban population will more than double between 2010 and 2110. After 2110, urban growth will largely level off. This presents a window of opportunity in which countries can shape urbanization in ways that improve the quality of life for billions of people.

Visualizing decades of urban expansion in a sample of 30 global cities. Prepared for the NYU Stern Urbanization Project using data compiled by Shlomo Angel, Jason Parent, Daniel Civco, and Alejandro Blei for The Atlas of Urban Expansion, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


Here’s Chicago  more here

Dallas Getting Ready to Get Smart

The Dallas Morning News published an article on the ongoing Smart Cities initiative in the West End.  The article reported on Michael Zeto (head of AT&T Smart Cities Unit).  Also interviewed for the article was Geoffery Orsak,Executive Director of the  Texas Research Alliance.  This ongoing news coverage give more information on the Dallas Innovation Alliance (the public/private partnershp announced a couple of months ago who aims to turn the West End into a living lab.

Read the article here

Dallas Slected to Participate in Envision America Smart City Program

As reported in the Dallas Business Journal by Tech Writer  Danielle Abril Dallas has been selected to participate in the Envision America Smart City Program

The White House announced the nationwide program in September. Dallas will be one of 10 cities participating.


Fort Worth to replace old water meters with electronic system

Smart Meter, Boring topicphoto credit: miheco

Electronic water meters could be in the yards of every residence in Fort Worth within five years.

The Fort Worth water department is working on a five-year design, study and phase-in program to replace the more than 240,000 residential and commercial water meters with those read by a radio or wireless signal.

Customers potentially can look at their water usage daily and learn to conserve.

Read more here:




According to a June 2015 News Release AT&T “the AT&T network had nearly 22 million IoT connected devices worldwide as of March 31, 2015. More than 945,000 smart devices connected during the first quarter of this year. That’s 70 percent more than the same quarter a year ago. Of those devices, 684,000 were connected cars. AT&T is leading the industry, working with eight of the top automakers.  Read the entire release here