On our KC Tech Tours, you will have an opportunity to visit first hand some of the innovation spaces and programs around the city. Starting from the Marriott Downtown at 8:30 am, you will have the chance to board shuttles (or walk) to innovation destinations around the city.
All tours are open to attendees of the Gigabit City Summit and the Net Inclusion Summit. Gigabit City Summit attendees will get a boxed lunch at the end of the tour. Net Inclusion Summit attendees will enjoy a kickoff luncheon at the Kansas City Public Library immediately following the tours. All busses will drop off tour participants to the Marriott no later than 11:45 am. The Digital Inclusion Tour Busses will also drop off tour participants at the Kansas City Public Library downtown.
Tech Tour #1 – Startup Culture and Gigabit Fiber
Travel to the original shark tank! We’ll take you to The Kauffman Foundation to witness 1 Million Cups, the national weekly startup session where entrepreneurs pitch and the public judges. Afterwards, we’ll travel to the Kansas City Startup Village, where an emerging cluster of startups bought and/or moved into houses in Kansas City’s first Google Fiber neighborhood. KCSV (as the Village is known) has spawned the Kansas City Startup Foundation to help advocate for startups and unite the startup community in Kansas City. This tour also includes a stop at the first Google Fiber space, a retail showroom for the company’s home Internet service.
Tech Tour #2 – Digital Inclusion: Connectivity
The prerequisite for true digital inclusion is access to connectivity. We have seen more options develop over the past several years from new ISPs and grassroots community groups, connections in the home and more online access in public and semi-public spaces. This tour starts at Juniper Gardens public housing in Kansas City, KS, where Connecting for Good has set up a community wireless network and runs a computer technology center. We will then travel to the Wayne Miner housing development, where Google Fiber is providing free gigabit WiFi as part of ConnectHome. Finally, we’ll visit the Center City neighborhood, where Reconciliation Services has added a computer lab to the RS Café, and where the Urban Neighborhood Initiative is piloting a mesh WiFi network to provide free Internet service and network training to residents.
Tech Tour #3 – Digital Inclusion: Literacy and Training
Access to the Internet without a device or digital skills leaves people still struggling in the Digital Divide. This tour offers the opportunity to visit three different aspects of the Kansas City digital inclusion ecosystem, starting with a tour of Surplus Exchange, an organization refurbishing devices for ConnectHome residents and providing hands-on training. We’ll then move on to an innovative new program offered by Operation Breakthrough, an early childhood center serving the working poor, that introduces young children to the fun of STEM learning and then finish off at W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center, where participants from teens to seniors can explore a wide range of technology training, including preparation for industry-recognized certifications.
Tech Tour #4 – Smart City, Living Lab + Streetcar
The "smart city" movement has taken off in the U.S. over the past 18 months, and Kansas City has just unveiled its signature downtown collaboration with Cisco, Sprint, and many other partners. A 2.2 mile streetcar line opened on May 6, and the city used this construction project to align a number of city assets and smart city technologies along the way. This (mostly) walking tour will head from downtown toward Union Station, and you can get a first-hand look at the CityPost kiosks, the Sensity lighting sensors, networking hardware on city light poles; and you can hear about the city's plans to leverage the enormous amounts of data that will be generated by the project. We'll also stop at Think Big Partners, which hosts the KC Living Lab, a commercialization platform for entrepreneurs who want to take advantage of the smart city assets.