The plan for Peña Station NEXT, a 400-acre "transit-oriented" smart city development on the train route connecting Denver to its international airport, emerged several years ago after a key division of technology champion Panasonic picked up and relocated its headquarters there.
Officially opened in April 2016 (well, at least a portion), the much-hyped project is, among other things, a showcase for the possibilities of microgrids that combine solar panels and energy storage. The ambitious blueprint includes smart LED street lights with video analytics features for safety and parking applications, community wireless services, electric vehicle charging stations and self-driving shuttles.
Given how many smart city prototypes are under way around the world, the idea behind Peña Station isn't extraordinarily unusual. But the business model behind this "living laboratory" is one that's worth careful consideration. It took 15 individual contracts to get the operation off the ground, said George Karayannis, vice president of CityNOW, Panasonic's North American smart city initiative, spearheaded by the company's Enterprise Solutions division.
"That is black-belt project management, and it could only happen when we had everyone committed," Karayannis added.
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