Arrow Electronics, federal labs join smart cities tech alliance
Arrow Electronics and research organizations have joined the Denver-metro area alliance formed to help local communities adopt effective ‘smart cities’ technologies.
Centennial-based Arrow (NYSE: ARW), the technology sales and distribution giant, will assist municipalities in sorting out ‘internet of things’ technologies, drawing on Arrow’s experience working on product design and technology distribution with more than 800 technology suppliers and 125,000 purchasing companies worldwide.
“We view our primary role as an advisor,” said Aiden Mitchell, vice president of global IoT solutions with Arrow. “Because we have all these technology companies, we can be agnostic and neutral.”
The Denver South Economic Development Partnership, the lead economic development agency for the southern metro-area suburbs, formed The Colorado Smart Cities Alliance earlier this year.
More than a dozen Front Range municipalities — including Denver, Aurora, Littleton, Boulder, Lone Tree, Greenwood Village and Colorado Springs — joined the alliance at its founding.
It has since attracted the Colorado Technology Association, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the National Renewable Energy Lab and the University of Colorado as participating members.
The term ‘smart city’ technology refers emerging internet-connected devices and infrastructure that collects data that allows communities to make transportation, energy, land and resource use and other aspects of life more efficient.
It’s also expected to give rise to new kinds of consumer and government services.
The technologies could help Colorado cities handle the addition of an expected 3 million new residents by 2050, according to said Jake Rishavy, vice president of innovation at the Denver South Economic Development Partnership.
“We’re working to create a 21st-century technology infrastructure right here in Colorado that will help to enhance everyone’s quality of life, particularly as our communities continue to grow,” Rishavy said in a statement.
Smart cities technologies are mashing together consumer electronics, infrastructure and computing systems and are early in their evolution.
Arrow can help cities research what products are available or that companies have in development for different applications and understand broader compatibility of different technologies.
The alliance is the first such partnership around IoT technologies that Arrow has joined, Mitchell said.
Arrow likely will learn a lot from its involvement, he said, and the company will also benefit as an employer from area municipalities investing intelligently in IoT adoption.
Communities that adopt ‘smart city’ technologies effectively will become draws for industry and technology employees, he said.
“They’re really going to improve the competitiveness of their communities both locally and internationally,” he said. “Now they’re expanding the alliance to include companies like Arrow and universities because they’re looking [to] answer what [smart cities] execution will look like.”
Arrow, the state’s largest company by revenue, employs about 1,750 in the southern Denver metro area out of about 18,500 employees worldwide.
It handles the distribution of billions of electronics components between semiconductor makers and the final electronics manufacturers, often helping the designers of products source components and engineer products to reflect the latest in technologies coming available. Arrow also helps large companies select and design computer and data center systems they purchase.
The involvement of UCAR brings to the alliance the UCAR-led Innovation Corridor initiative, an organization of Colorado federal research labs with two of the world’s fastest super computers and unique energy system modeling capabilities.
“All of these assets, as well as access to the world’s finest researchers in their respective subject matter areas, can be at the disposal of the alliance members,” said Eric Drummond, president of Formativ, a founder of the Innovation Corridor.