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March 8, 2019

Exploring Smart City Developments in San Diego .

Exploring Smart City Developments in San Diego


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Michelle James
Vice President, Strategic Industry Programs

CTIA’s Smart Cities Business & Technology Working Group is devoted to developing tools and resources that will increase efficiencies, create jobs and drive economic growth for municipalities across the country.

A few weeks ago, the group convened in San Diego to learn about one more way that connected technologies are helping communities: by improving public safety.

First, we visited the Chula Vista Police Department for a demonstration of its ‘Drone as a First Responder’ initiative. Part of the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program, the Chula Vista PD’s implementation of this initiative uses drones to respond to emergency calls within a two mile radius of the station.

Once at the scene, the drone feeds live video to police on the ground, giving them critical intelligence about the emergency. This allows the department to survey a situation quickly and safely before deciding upon the best response. The department has flown over 200 missions in support of patrol operations in the last month.

Members also visited the San Diego Gas & Electric Operations Center to hear from SDG&E emergency management and response teams. The Center assesses the power and natural gas grids prior to and after emergency weather events like wildfires and storms. The team uses the facility to monitor damage-assessment reports, outage information, news updates and other key data.

A separate communications center allows personnel to monitor local and national television and radio broadcasts as well as police and fire radio calls. This facility runs in tandem with a command center where senior management can monitor crises and coordinate decisions.

At the Center, we also saw the SDG&E’s advanced mapping technologies and weather modeling systems powered by remote weather stations throughout the county, which relay near real-time data back to the operations center.

This allows SDG&E to manage high-risk areas of their grid as related to utility management. When strong winds strike, SDG&E can power down the high-risk areas, eliminating threats of wildfire sparked by debris hitting active power lines. This technology and transfer of data is critical to public safety and utility management, especially during the dry season.

Back at Qualcomm’s headquarters, Qualcomm Inc.’ President Cristiano Amon and Mark Stainbrook, Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department Chief gave a keynote presentation. Both Amon and Stainbrook highlighted the life-saving potential that smart city applications have and the important role 5G networks will play in keeping communities safe.

“5G will be a fundamental enabler for smart cities, supporting a massive scale of connections between everything from streetlights to water meters to security cameras,” said Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm, Inc. “Qualcomm was born here in San Diego, and we’re deeply excited to work with CTIA and its partners to help make our home town not only the finest, but also the smartest city around.”

This meeting was a great opportunity to convene industry experts and city officials for collaboration and discussion of smart cities issues and the impact they have on public safety.

For more information about CTIA’s Smart Cities Business & Technology Working Group, please contact Christina Metzger at

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