2019 CAE Q3: Chicago is being rebuilt in the age of the internet, technology and innovation.

- Bridget Williams, Fellow

The Chicago postal industry once boomed (and failed) in part thanks to a monstrous facility built on prime real estate along the Chicago River. The Old Chicago Main Post Office now sits vacant at 433 W. Van Buren Street but once supported the enormous mail-order services of Montgomery Ward and Sears. Soon, architects will breathe life into the building again in an era of digitization that is sure to resurrect it into a drastically different facility than it once was. The revitalized facility will be home to several businesses, including the headquarters for Uber Freight, Uber Technologies’ logistics company. A city built for freight is now being rebuilt in the age of the internet, technology, and innovation.

Freight logistics is one of many mechanical institutions that is being reinvented by the internet of things (IoT). Integrating sensors and software allows a remote computer to monitor and control a truck fleet like never before. IoT is expanding its outreach from buildings to new interactive screens between you and a Coca-Cola in the cooler at the grocery store. Our utilities are grappling with IoT in innovative ways as well and integrating the data collected from smart meters to better serve customers. 

IoT and smart city planning has improved Chicago in many ways since May 2016 when Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s announced his plan to transform Chicago into “the most data-driven government in the world”. Possibly most notable, the City has upgraded street lights to LED and added sensors to the light poles in an effort to collect data on humidity, air quality, light, temperature, noise level, carbon monoxide levels, carbon dioxide level, and pedestrian foot traffic. This project, dubbed the Array of Things (AoT), makes Chicago a leader in urban sensing initiatives. As of May 2018, the initiative installed its 100th sensor. Scientists, policymakers, students, businesses, and citizens will benefit from better understanding the dynamics of their City and the impact we have on its environment. This project is a spectacular example of the solutions that can happen when cities, utilities, scientists, and students collaborate to find ways connectivity can enable new business models and improve liveability in our cities.  

Where is IoT headed next? What is on the horizon? Most importantly, will Uber bring air taxis to the Old Chicago Post Office building? 

Join Advanced Energy Group on Thursday, October 3rd for the Q3 breakfast series to discuss IoT, technology, and innovation as they relate to the City of Chicago and Illinois. The breakfast will feature a panel of experts, small group problem statement brainstorming, and updates on successful past AEG breakfast pilot projects. Speakers include: 

  • Stephen Humes, Partner, Holland & Knight

  • Carrie Zalewski, Chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission

  • Phil Nevels, Director Innovation and Partnerships, Exelon Utilities

  • Maria S. Bocanegra, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission

  • Eric Sineath, Chief Architect and Practice Director, AT&T

  • Nipesh Patel, MBA, Enterprise Client Executive, Itron

Discussion leaders will delve into the IoT, technology, and innovation trends in Chicago and Illinois. You will be asked to work with stakeholders to develop a problem statement pertaining to this topic. You will walk away from the morning more informed about IoT, technology, and innovation, more connected, and more prepared to tackle the challenges we face today.

To request an invite click here: http://bit.ly/AEG_invite