Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Panasonic takes lead in making Denver smart city

Steve Rogerson
January 12, 2016
 
Japanese company Panasonic, which is creating an operations hub for its Panasonic enterprise division at the Peña Station Next development, announced at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it will partner with Denver and a number of local private entities to make living in Denver easier and better for residents and visitors.
 
By leveraging Panasonic’s technologies and expertise, this partnership aims ultimately to make Denver a more sustainable, smart city by enhancing access to and development of community engagement, energy efficiency, water conservation, public safety, healthcare and other public services.
 
“This exciting, new partnership between Panasonic, the city and other Denver entities will connect people to the city services they need through real-time information and technology,” said Denver mayor Michael Hancock. “That real-time information will work to enhance Denver services while creating more equity, freedom and access to choices that will allow our community as a whole to live better, easier lives.”
 
Panasonic’s CityNow approach, which is based on the company’s experience in smart city planning and integration around the world, will be the linchpin of the company’s initiatives in the Denver metro area.
 
“Panasonic is delighted to have this opportunity to partner with the city of Denver on providing the technology to help meet their sustainability and smart goals,” said Panasonic’s North American chairman and CEO Joseph Taylor. “At Panasonic, our approach is never about developing technology for technology’s sake, but instead about how we can enable technology to improve the quality of peoples' lives.”
 
The application of smart technologies to the city’s infrastructure, including in and around Denver International Airport, is expected to put more real-time information on city services in the hands of the community. Smart technologies embedded in the city’s infrastructure will enable people to have effortless access to information about services, including utilities and mass transit. In addition, this responsive infrastructure will transform smart urban infrastructure such as street lighting and energy systems to sense and respond dynamically to the presence of people and deliver services as needed.  
 
The net result will be to have people in the community better connected with the local government and the services they need, when they need them, while increasing their level of engagement and awareness of the need to save energy.
 
Towards this goal, Xcel Energy has presented a project to build a microgrid with contributions from Panasonic and Denver International Airport that will demonstrate the use of solar photovoltaic and lithium ion storage batteries working together. The microgrid, made up of a 1.3MW AC solar carport system and a 1MW, 2MWh battery storage system, if approved, will be “the most comprehensive project of this type in Colorado history and the first with actual customer participation in a real-world environment,” according to Alice Jackson, regional vice president for rates and regulatory affairs at Xcel Energy.
 
Panasonic is also working with Aviation Station North Metropolitan District Number One, DeveloperStat, Fulenwider and Denver International Airport to pilot a system of smart LED street lighting at the Peña Station Next development district near the Panasonic Enterprise hub that is under construction. The system is designed to save energy, optimise usage and bring video analytics technology to streets that can support parking management, traffic analysis, security and other potential services.
 
Smart technologies will also be used to contribute to community health and well-being. The Peña Station Next Health & Wellness Center, supported by Panasonic’s On4Care Remote Health Care, will enable the commercial and residential population to access health and wellness activities ranging from fitness and health-related education to traditional healthcare and alternative medicine services. Patients with chronic illnesses will also benefit from in-home biometric readings and advanced, real-time, patient-doctor interactions while in the comfort of their own homes. On4Care has potential transformational implications for the delivery of health care services in an urban environment.