November 13, 2013
New vision for cities
By: Larry Rulison
Source: Times Union
Plans by the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and
Engineering to redevelop Kiernan Plaza, downtown Albany's old train
station, go beyond the state's attempts to replicate the NanoCollege
model in other parts of upstate.
The former Union Station,
purchased by the NanoCollege with $4 million in state funding, is being
converted into the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center. It will be
known as SCiTI.
The center will house companies interested in
taking technologies developed by the semiconductor industry and using
them to make cities and governments run more efficiently and do more for
citizens. The city of Albany will be the test bed.
vibration sensors that can predict when bridges are failing, or
computers that can predict where a flu outbreak will happen first. Or
even cars that don't need drivers.
And the beneficiaries of those
technologies — first tested in Albany — will be places like New York
City and metropolitan areas all across the nation, NanoCollege officials
"Those are the types of things that governments are
interested in," Michael Fancher, the NanoCollege's vice president of
business development and economic outreach, said Wednesday during a
presentation hosted by the Business Council of New York State. "All of
these budget cuts are driving municipalities to think, how can we do
this in a different way?"
Fancher says that this so-called "smart
cities" technology is the next market for the semiconductor industry,
which has been growing primarily by supplying chips and sensors to the
consumer electronics market, especially smartphones and tablet computers
like the iPad.
The Smart Cities center at Kiernan Plaza will
have a control room where experiments are tracked and data collected
that will be used to show state and local governments what the
technologies can do. Fancher called it a "living lab" that will be able
to access the state's data center being built at the NanoCollege's main
campus on Fuller Road.
The initial companies to locate at the
site are credit union SEFCU, the engineering firm CHA, and Windstream
Corp., an Arkansas computer networking firm. At capacity, the facility
is expected to house 250 workers and attract $26 million in private