Lafayette Consolidated Government
The Mozilla Foundation has named Lafayette as one of two of the 2017 Mozilla Gigabit Communities, receiving $150,000 in innovation grants. With this announcement, Lafayette and Eugene, OR join the company of only three other communities in the U.S. to earn the designation, alongside Austin, Chattanooga and Kansas City. The initiative, in partnership with the National Science Foundation and US Ignite, supports gigabit pilot projects and next generation networks.
Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said, “Lafayette’s progress is directly related to the efforts of the university and its leadership. I’m grateful to the team involved in this grant application for taking the time and investing the energy to continually improve our great city.”
The 18 month investment by the Mozilla foundation provides funding for community gigabit applications that improve education, address workforce development issues and keep citizens connected. In addition to funding, the Mozilla Foundation will hire a local full-time Portfolio Manager to support the local grant project and ensure smart community success.
Gigabit Community Fund cities are selected based on a range of criteria, including: a widely deployed high-speed fiber network; a developing conversation around digital literacy, access and innovation; a critical mass of community anchor organizations, including arts and educational organizations; an evolving entrepreneurial community; and opportunities to engage K-12 school systems. According to Mozilla Gigabit Fund Manager Jenn Beard, “Mozilla believes in a networked approach—leveraging the power of diverse people, pooled expertise and shared values to accomplish big things. We apply this approach in our mission to keep the internet healthy. We fuel a network of people and organizations working toward an internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all.”
To learn more, about the Mozilla Gigabit Community fund visit vimeo.com/204621980
In June of 2016, US Ignite announced Lafayette as one of its 15 cities in the Smart Gigabit Communities network. The initiative is a White House sponsored effort to leverage high speed networks to foster ideas and solve problems in communities across the country. Lafayette’s Smart Gigabit status was achieved in large part due to the two research projects being developed at the University of Louisiana.
One project focuses on an application under development, dubbed Crisis Eye, which allows public safety officials to access videos submitted by the public during an emergency. The app provides a platform for uploading real-time videos to aid law enforcement or fire officials monitor a crisis from the time a 911 call is made until first responders arrive. The project earned the title of “Most Likely to Have a Big Impact” at the 2016 US Ignite Smart Cities Innovation Summit.
The second app being developed at UL is a virtual reality project capable of live streaming 3-D video within a shared virtual environment, which then duplicates the environment via computer-generated animation. This project earned “Most Imaginative Gigabit App” at the US Ignite summit can be utilized to enable high school students’ learning about alternative energy technology at the University’s Cleco Alternative Energy Center in Crowley, La., for example. In this scenario, a student uses a virtual reality headset to navigate a virtual energy center, including huge mirrored panels that capture sunlight for solar thermal power production.
At the time of the Smart Gigabit Communities announcement, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux stated “Our community benefits from both a world-class research university and community-owned fiber optic system. I look forward to seeing more applications which enhance the lives of our citizens resulting from this collaboration.”
Smart Gigabit communities also receive technical assistance from US Ignite staff and partners in designing and developing applications to take advantage of the new network connections including access to fund accelerators and technical staff.
US Ignite is a nonprofit organization that fosters the development and deployment of next-generation technology applications that will profoundly impact how Americans live, work and learn. Learn more about US Ignite and its Smart Gigabit Communities at us-ignite.org.