NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
‘Smart City’ Aims to Redefine Urban Living
Students Explore Electrical Contracting at Rosendin Electric
> EXECU TIVES AT SIDEWALK LABS,
a subsidiary of Alphabet (the parent
company of Google), are planning
to meet with Alphabet executives to
discuss plans for a rejuvenation project
designed to turn a section of an existing
city into a “smart city.” The plan calls
for billions of dollars in investments to
make the section of the city high-tech
If the project is approved, Sidewalk
Labs may solicit bids from cities in
need of rejuvenation. The company
then wants the city and its state to lift
regulations on utilities, parking and city
design to provide the company with more
autonomy over its redesign efforts.
In contrast with the traditional
top-down tech projects that cities have
adopted in the past to improve services
and reduce costs, Sidewalk Labs uses a
bottom-up approach. Beyond providing
internet access on city streets, the project
team is focused on creating whole smart
The four pillars of Sidewalk Labs
are 1) modern, affordable housing using
advanced materials, 2) digital mobility
systems to manage limited road space,
3) personalized social services, and 4)
distributed energy management using
renewable energy and smart storage to
improve reliability and reduce costs.
Sidewalk Labs will design city districts
that feature advanced technology
with the goal of improving energy use,
transportation and living costs.
As part of the initiative, potential
plans call for working with existing
high-tech divisions within Alphabet that
already have, or are working on, products
that might be useful in the proposed
“smart city,” such as self-driving cars; a
commercial drone delivery service (Project
Wing) set to debut in 2017; a higher-tech electric grid; and replacing public
payphones with proprietary kiosks that
will offer free public Wi-Fi and phone calls,
tablets for web browsing, USB charging for
mobile devices, and wayfinding tools.
Potential plans also call for a platform
that will enable cities to use real-time
data to understand and manage street
activity, such as parking, lane changing
and traffic enforcement.
Sidewalk Labs was established in 2015
to launch projects that have the potential
to be embraced by urban dwellers.
> THE ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING INDUSTRY IS AGING.
Getting young people interested in the field and keeping them
interested is a challenge, but one that must be faced to move the
industry forward. Recently, Rosendin Electric, an employee-owned
electrical contracting firm headquartered in San Jose, Calif., took a
hands-on approach to bringing newcomers into the fold.
On May 9, the company hosted students from Desert Hills
High School at its Tempe, Ariz., office to introduce them to
Business development manager Dean Howard was the
driving force behind the visit. His inspiration came from a rather
unlikely source—the movie, “Spare Parts,” about a group of high
school students who beat Massachusetts Institute of Technology
students in a robotics competition.
“Spare Parts” is based on the true story of the Carl Hayden
High School Robotics Team in Phoenix, and Howard worked
with the Arizona Public Works Association to bring the movie
premiere to Arizona. When he met the Carl Hayden students, he
came to an unfortunate realization.
“I recognized that none of them continued their passion
for engineering when they left high school,” Howard said. “I
Nine Desert Hills students, participants in the regional
science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program,
toured Rosendin Electric’s facilities and were asked to complete
a mock construction project using building information
modeling (BIM) systems to model, create parts lists, complete
pricing, make bids and more.
“We wanted to demonstrate to the students that the skills they
are learning in the STEM program can be applied to real-life work
experiences,” Howard said. “Our objective was to take [the student]
through an abbreviated project timeline from start to finish. The
objective was to demonstrate a project coming in the door for
[them] to estimate, model, prefab and deliver to the job site.”
Following the successful visit, Rosendin hopes to offer more
programs to local high school students in the future.
“Our biggest effort is to educate students about the trade, the
benefits associated with it and matching up the skills they are
learning now with the ability to move straight into a vocation that
offers a competitive alternative to a college degree,” he said.