Being Smart Isn't Enough

Being Smart Isn't Enough

PDMA Pittsburgh | April 26, 2021

The rapid emergence of new technologies is enabling cities to become smarter and more connected.  But these days, smart isn’t enough. In order to make lasting, positive impact on a community, the deployment of technology must also be equitable and sustainable, resilient to the shocks and stresses that we often can’t predict. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly taught us this lesson.

Metro21’s mission is to research, develop and deploy 21st century solutions to the challenges facing metropolitan regions through the use of technology and strong partnerships. Ms. Lightman will highlight Metro21 projects deployed that apply this philosophy, including the “Feeding Families in Need Through Machine Learning” project that is using AI to help deliver over 8,500 meals/month to three municipalities in Allegheny County. Examples of a systems-level approach to applying technology to solve real-world problems are not limited to just the urban core. Ms. Lightman will share how collaboration with Waynesburg University, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is helping to address issues related to transportation, economic development, healthcare and food insecurity by helping to create a rural mobility network.

Ms. Lightman will include examples of best practice and lessons learned on ensuring projects include deliberate and thoughtful user-centered effort, with the community impacted by the project engaged in the design, deployment, and evaluation. Lastly, this talk will share how, through using a user-centered design process, the deployed technology can enable a community to go way beyond just being smart – it can also be equitable, resilient, and sustainable.

Learning Objectives:

  • How smart technologies are being developed and employed in our region
  • How to build equitability and sustainability into technology deployment
  • Approaches to large-scale problems and how to leverage partnerships
  • Best practices and lessons learned on keeping a user-centered focus in smart technology applications

We hope you can join us! 

About the Presenter

Karen Lightman is Executive Director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Karen is an internationally recognized leader in building and supporting communities based on emerging technologies. She is well-regarded in the MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) industry, having helped start and then lead MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), the largest industry consortium solely focused on MEMS and sensors. Under her leadership, MSIG covered every sector of the MEMS value chain and successfully orchestrated numerous annual international conferences, workshops and tradeshows. Karen led the successful acquisition of MSIG by SEMI, the world’s largest semiconductor association. Karen has expertise with commercializing academic research, building industry-based consortiums and strategically leading teams to explore market-based opportunities. Her diverse background spans the consumer, military, healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive sectors. Karen is ranked by EETimes as one of the top 25 “Women in Tech” and was inducted into the SEMI/MSIG "Hall of Fame" in October 2020.  She is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for technology solutions to real-world problems and has held several board positions and is currently treasurer on the board of the MetroLab Network.

Karen has a BA from the University of Vermont (UVM) and a MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. She and her family reside in Pittsburgh, PA.

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