Security dreads mount ahead of GOP convention

( CNN) Concerns over security in Cleveland have been ramping up ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention — and are now further inflamed by recent incidents of racial violence that have wracked the country.

With Donald Trump expected to formally accept the GOP’s presidential nomination, numerous protest groups for and against the billionaire developer are preparing to launch dozens of rallies and marches across the Ohio city, which is anticipating 50,000 visitors for the GOP’s quadrennial gathering.

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72 items banned from RNC event zone

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Cleveland increasing security for GOP convention

The Stone Age Is Over. Kansas City Definitely Get The Memo.

The arrival of a new streetcar in Kansas City, Missouri, heralds the beginning of a major technological shift for the Midwestern city.

Lights along the 2-mile transit line, which opens Friday, sense when the sun decides and turn on when it gets dark. If there isn’t anyone waiting for the streetcar, the illuminations dim automatically. They will also send alerts to the city if something is blocking the rail route or if icy roads required to salted.

Kiosks installed at streetcar stops and throughout downtown allow travelers to check the arrival of the next trolley, and display curated content about the city’s restaurants, concerts and sports games.

Residents will also benefit from a public wifi network encompassing virtually 3 square miles of downtown that, along with the lights and kiosks, are part of an infrastructure overhaul in Kansas City that will reduce energy costs, improve traffic safety and increase access to public services and events.

“We consider connectivity as a new utility, ” Bob Bennett, the city’s chief invention policeman, told The Huffington Post. “You can’t get a job without getting on the Internet, and you can’t figure out where you need to go without connectivity. Cities have to evolve.”

Even parking woes would be made easier by the new technology. The city plans to eventually use the sensors along the streetcar line to develop a mobile app that allows drivers to see when parking space become available. And the sensors could help streamline wastewater and stormwater runoff management.

The interactive kiosks may soon turn into small social hubs for locals, and it’s not uncommon to hear people use the booths as a meeting point, Bennett said.

“It’s gotten people’s snouts out of their phones and looking at each other while utilizing 7-foot-tall representations of what they have in their pocket, ” Bennett added.

Kansas City Area Development Council

The kiosks can be synced to smartphones with a mobile app. That style, for example, users who insure an ad for a lunch special at a local coffeehouse can pull up that information on their own device when they get hungry later in the day. In a boost to local businesses, store and eatery owneds can elect to push out ads on the kiosks based on what a user is searching.( Sessions are wiped to protect users’ data .)

“Innovation is coming from everywhere, ” said Tom Touchet, CEO of Smart City Media, which manages the kiosks. “It’s not only a big city game.”

City-wide wifi networks have become increasingly common as local government scramble to address issues of inequality and access to services. President obama has called high-speed Internet a “necessity” and said increased access are essential in a competitive economy. In New York City, thousands of rusty pay phones will be converted into wifi hot spots and charging stations for mobile devices.

As these smart cities proliferate, representatives of the private sector has rushed to partner with municipal governments. IBM, Philips and Cisco, which is helping Kansas City upgrade and manage its digital infrastructure, have worked with hundreds of cities internationally to pilot new technology.

In Barcelona, parks have added irrigation systems that turn on sprinklers when plants need to be watered, and smart trash can notify employees when they are full. Copenhagen installed bike path lights to warn cyclists approaching red traffic lights, and aims to become the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025.

“Data is the asset now, ” said Kim Majerus, a vice president at Cisco who supervised the Kansas City project. “Now the question is, how do cities use it to do things more effectively and provide solutions to their citizens.”

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is eyeing smart cities of its own. It plans to partner with disadvantaged regions and outfit them with new technology, in addition to using them to showcase its self-driving autoes, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Three connected vehicle pilots, funded by the Department of Transportation, are currently underway to improve pedestrian safety and reduce congestion. The agency is also awarding $40 million for its smart city challenge, which seeks to integrate autonomous vehicles and smart technology into a city’s transportation network.( Kansas City is a finalist .)

“Over time the most powerful technology becomes invisible. It’s about lowering costs and modernizing cities, ” said Herb Sih, a co-founder of the Kansas City-based incubator Think Big Partners, which advised the city on its new project. “There’s an opportunity in Kansas City to solve problems and improve the quality of life.”

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com