The local man leading Cisco’s efforts with Kansas City’s Smart City project is moving on to a startup firm.
Isaiah Blackburn, chief strategist for Connected and Innovative Kansas City, has departed Cisco to serve as chief strategy officer at Xaqt, a Kansas City-based data analytics firm, according to a report from the Kansas City Business Journal. Kent Nuss, a Cisco account manager of more than 10 years, will lead Cisco’s efforts in the $15 million Kansas City project.
Sprint, the City of Kansas City, Mo. and Think Big Partners are working together on the smart city project in Kansas City, which is expected to be complete in early 2016. The Smart City project, which was announced in the summer of 2014, aims to collect a variety of information — such as traffic flow and street light use —through WiFi and telecom sensors.
Kansas City signed an agreement with Sprint and Cisco in June to create the largest smart city in North America. Sprint will be building a network of connectivity worth up to $7 million dollars while Cisco will be providing smart city infrastructure worth upwards of $5 million.
The Kansas City Council approved in April roughly $3.7 million to spend on the project, bringing the total cost of the Smart City effort to more than $15.7 million. Kansas City has installed smart lighting in its downtown with which it expects to save millions of dollars. The city will spend $1.5 million on smart traffic lighting throughout downtown provided by Lenexa-based Rhythm Engineering.
Blackburn told the Business Journal that he expects his new company to create new technologies for Cisco’s Smart City framework. Xaqt is based in Think Big Partners in downtown Kansas City. Kansas City Mayor Sly James previously issued a challenge to innovators around the world to create solutions for the framework’s application portal, which will be managed by Think Big.
“This is an invitation to the entire world to come to Kansas City to see what we’re doing, participate in it, bring ideas and test them out,” James said previously. “We expect to have more people from around the country and world for cultural tourism to take advantage of all the things that we have to offer, and to bring their knowledge, ideas and thoughts on innovation to Kansas City to play with what we’ve got so we can build on what they bring to us and continue to build our infrastructure. This sets us apart from other cities.”