Racine, Foxconn strike smart cities deal

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 pm

Foxconn’s Wisconsin subsidiary has signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Racine outlining a partnership for the development of smart city technologies.

The Racine Common Council voted to approve the agreement Tuesday night.

The deal outlines a number of activities FEWI Development Corp. and the city will engage in collaboratively “on projects of mutual agreement” to pursue smart city ideas. Each individual project would be subject to separate project agreements.

“I am excited to see projects get off the ground and start to take shape,” said Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou. “I have no doubt that we will soon see some exciting stories of creativity, discovery, and success that will positively shape the future of Racine and Wisconsin as a whole.”

Foxconn has already purchased two buildings in downtown Racine at 1 W. Main St. and 601 Lake St., The Main Street building will become home to Foxconn Place Racine, one of the company’s innovation centers. Both buildings will have a smart cities focus, the company has said.

Activities included in the agreement include developing applications to improve public safety and security, buildings, mobility and transportation systems, energy systems and related carbon footprints, public utilities and infrastructure.

The technology deployed in Racine could include a network of wired and wireless sensors, cameras, monitors, electronic devices, data communications, high-speed networking, predicative analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, remote monitoring and transportation technologies.

Foxconn and Racine are pledging to work together to identify project goals, develop plans, advocate to local, state and federal agencies, researching potential land, facilities and infrastructure, developing partnerships with public and private entities, developing symposiums, creating public relations plans and entering contests.

The parties will also work to initiate pilot programs related to Foxconn’s Smart Cities, Smart Futures contest.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason said partnering with Foxconn would give the city “a unique competitive advantage.”

“The city’s infrastructure combined with ingenuity of Foxconn sends a clear message to innovators and investors – if you have an idea, you want to be in Racine,” Mason said.

In the most recent BizTimes cover story, Mason said smart city technology can help address challenges residents face on a day-to-day basis. He also said the city will need to work to make sure the benefits are broadly felt throughout the community.

Racine was also recently named one of 10 finalists for the Smart Cities Council’s 2019 Smart Cities Readiness Challenge. The five winners will be announced on April 16.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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