Tech leaders converge on Kansas City for Gigabit City Summit

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Civic, business and tech leaders will share ideas about how to create smart cities at the second annual Gigabit City Summit.

About 300 people are expected to attend the three-day summit, which is being held at Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. It runs through Wednesday.

Organizers say Kansas City has become the model smart city, thanks to a $15.7 million public-private initiative to change the way people interact with the city. That's why Kansas City was selected to host the summit two years in a row.

Think Big Partners in downtown Kansas City is the office of the future. It’s a co-op workplace where different companies collaborate and that’s becoming a new trend in the tech industry.

It’s that kind of collaborative environment that drew startups like the Kansas City Drone Company to set up shop in the laid back, modern office.

“It's a nice, creative environment. You can come up with a business idea or new concept and immediately bounce it around with the other people who work here,” said Casey Adams with Kansas City Drone Company. “I want to see more union between Kansas and Missouri as far as how people see Kansas City because I see it as one place. In the digital age, physical borders don't mean anything.”

Think Big is just one example of a spirit of unity blossoming on the Silicon Prairie with the help of companies like Google Fiber, Sprint and Cisco.

“We have a lot to teach other cities,” said Mike Burke.

Burke leads Kansas City’s bi-state innovation team that’s helped bring tech projects like smart kiosks to Kansas City’s downtown.

“The internet doesn't know county lines, state lines or city lines. It benefits the entire region to collaborate,” he said.

This week Burke’s presenting at the Gigabit City conference, teaching other cities how to build their own tech infrastructure.

“We all tackle the digital divide issues in terms of educating people who don't currently have access to the internet,” he said.

Attendees at the conference will also hear about how other cities have had success in transforming into smart cities, and get ideas about how to get their own cities to join the smart city movement.

It will include a guided tour of the KC Streetcar corridor so they can see the transformation taking place in Kansas City.

For more information on the Gigabit City Summit, visit http://www.gigabitcitysummit.com.