The Golden Triangle is Getting Smarter

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Free public WiFi and smart infrastructure coming to Penn West

WASHINGTON D.C., October 20, 2016 – The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) announced today the roll out of free, publicly available Wi-Fi as part of D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue 2040 (PA 2040) pilot program. The project focuses on Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House – between the 1700 and 1900 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue and from G Street to I Street N.W.

Washington, D.C.’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO), along with partners Sensity and Cisco, will deliver publicly accessible Internet through OCTO-sponsored outdoor DCNet Wi-Fi and remotely managed, sensor-based LED streetlights.

“This technology has the potential to change how city residents live, work, learn and play,” said Leona Agouridis, Executive Director of the Golden Triangle BID. “On the government side, it can increase efficiency and facilitate new services built on a unified infrastructure.”

While the most conspicuous public element of the project is free public Wi-Fi throughout the nine-block area, the internet connectivity will also be used to connect a variety of sensors: smart lighting, environmental, soil, and trash can sensors are the first elements that will be in place for the launch. The Golden Triangle BID will work with the city and its partners to test and provide feedback on the sensors, explore creative uses for the data they generate, and explore what additional types of sensors could be deployed in the future. Data generated by the sensors will be used to help improve the efficiency of operations and provide feedback critical to helping city agencies determine the future of the broader SmarterDC initiative.

As a key partner in this enterprise, Cisco, the world’s largest networking company, will name D.C. as its first Lighthouse Partner City in the United States. Joining a network of Lighthouse Cities around the world with access to Cisco’s huge global resources, D.C. will be primed to benefit from the economic and social transformation accompanying the growing influence of the Internet of Things. This breakthrough technology allows everyday objects to “talk” to each other over the internet. For example, a connected parking garage can alert a driver’s smartphone of the location of available parking spots; or sensors in the soil and on trash cans can communicate when plants need to be watered and trash needs to be removed increasing efficiency of the BID.

The PA 2040 pilot serves as a stepping stone towards a more sustainable, smarter future for Washington, D.C. It also serves as another step forward in the Golden Triangle BID’s vision of Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House as a world-class urban boulevard; the grand transformation of Penn West will encompass smart technologies, sustainable green space, safe transportation, and cultural events and art.

Plans for the transformation of the street include protected bike lanes, more trees and water gardens, and expanded sidewalks; the improvements will transform the space into a venue for global events between the White House, IMF, World Bank, and George Washington University.

“The project marries the latest networking technology with our urban infrastructure goals to really improve the overall quality of life for everyone in the area. Connectivity has the power to galvanize innovation and collaboration. As people in the Golden Triangle neighborhood take advantage of these new services, we’ll see productivity and creativity blossom as a driver for new ideas, jobs, and industries,” said Agouridis.

The Golden Triangle BID is committed to implementing innovative amenities and programs in the heart of the central business district. The BID is also working with DDOT to install energy-generating pavers on Connecticut Avenue south of Dupont Circle, and introduced its own public Wi-Fi network in Farragut Park almost five years ago, with the addition of “outdoor office” in the park two years ago.

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About the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District

The Golden Triangle BID is a non-profit organization that works to enhance D.C.’s Central Business District from the White House to Dupont Circle and 16th Street NW to New Hampshire Avenue NW. The BID’s primary focus is to provide a clean, safe, and friendly environment within its 43 blocks of public space for area workers, local residents and visitors. www.goldentriangledc.com 

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