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ASU, Amazon open Smart City Cloud Innovation Center in Scottsdale

(ASU Photo/Maggie Rome)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University and Amazon Web Services partnered to open the Smart City Cloud Innovation Center in Scottsdale last week.

“It’s storefront property at our Skysong campus where municipalities, faculty, staff, students can actually come forward with their challenges, and then there’s a group of ASU and Amazon employees that will be there to help them solve these solutions around smart cities,” John Rome, ASU deputy chief information officer, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

“These challenges might be anything from parking issues to how do we come up with a standard of smart lighting within the city, and how do I do better water conservation? So there’s a lot of ideas that you can bring forward to this center, and the idea is that we solve these solutions and make them available to the greater public.”

Rome said the center will facilitate the sharing of solutions among cities, so, for example, if Peoria brings forward a challenge that is solved, Mesa could share that solution and implement it in its own city.

He said the center will focus on using machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve problems, like one he said has already been submitted: how to stop wrong-way drivers in Arizona.

“Part of ASU’s mission is clearly how do we impact the community around us, and we have a deep partnership with Amazon,” Rome said.

“They realized that ASU is the most innovative university, or institution, in the U.S. Why not take the most innovative company in the world and get together and solve things?” Rome said.

Rome said the center is expected to be fully operational around May or June, but it is taking submissions for challenges on its website.

“If you’re a faculty, citizen, student, that has an idea or wants to try to solve something, it’s a place where you can actually submit those challenges,” he said.

“And then there’s a committee that will look at those, look for impact, and then we’ll try to address those.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report. 


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