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City officials attend tech conference

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Mayor Steve Adler, City Manager Marc Ott and Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis were among the Austinites attending the Global City Teams Challenge Expo in Washington, D.C., Monday and Tuesday of this week. Cities from around the world sent delegates to discuss the future of smart devices and the Internet of Things in order to promote cooperation among those cities in dealing with new technologies. Austin was asked to discuss leveraging mobile devices for real-time data and resident feedback to enhance urban planning and address civic priorities, according to the website for the conference, which was sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and US Ignite. Asked to describe what type of devices Austin Energy was using that might fit with the theme of the conference, AE spokesman Robert Cullick said, “There’s an app from Austin Energy that will let you know when you’re moving into second and third tier” of electric use, which triggers higher prices. In addition, Cullick said, “Everything talks to us on a real-time basis. When a streetlight starts to go out, it communicates to a nearby streetlight,” so that the first streetlight can be repaired. In addition, Cullick pointed out that the city “can increase the lumens on our streetlights on 6th Street when it’s closing time.” Also, Austin has a 3-1-1 app that allows citizens to report things like potholes from their phones. Presumably, Austin will be sharing information about those technologies and receiving information from other cities on new uses of technology. A spokesman for the mayor’s office said that Adler would be back Tuesday night.

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