Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Allan

City to turn into wireless hot spot

9 posts in this topic

MIKE WENDLAND: Detroit's mayor to turn city into wireless hot spot

February 27, 2004

BY MIKE WENDLAND

FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Lost in the news from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's State of the City address the other night was a brief announcement about a plan that has great significance to the city's efforts to attract more convention business -- not to mention making downtown more of a "cool city" to use Gov. Jennifer Granholm's phrase.

Kilpatrick wants to turn downtown Detroit into a wireless Internet hot spot.

"By the end of 2004, when you bring your laptop downtown, you can leave all the cables and cords at home," the mayor said in announcing plans to build out and eventually network a string of downtown hot spots.

At Cobo Center, meeting rooms went wireless this week. Parts of the Marriott Hotel at the Renaissance Center already offer wireless Internet access.

"Hart Plaza will be wireless in July, Campus Martius in October and Grand Circus Park -- and the area within the boundaries of the People Mover -- by the end of the year," Kilpatrick pledged.

The mayor didn't talk about how the project will be funded, though several of his people have been quietly looking at ways to get the business community downtown to help bring this about. Dave Rayford, the mayor's technology guru, says private funding sources with a minimal outlay of city funds will be able to develop the network.

"Wireless is really very affordable. We own the light poles. We have the access-site locations. We can leverage much of what we have and partner with the businesses in the area," Rayford says. "The city is ripe for this, and it's going to happen."

The downtown Wi-Fi project will be a major draw in bringing conventions to the city. Almost all laptop computers business types use come equipped with wireless receivers these days. With e-mail and the Web now essential tools for them, having the immediate access that Wi-Fi offers makes attending a conference or convention in the city that much more attractive to many.

Add to that the thousands of new tech-savvy workers at Compuware, OnStar and EDS who already work wirelessly, and this idea makes even more sense, as it serves downtown's growing high-tech workforce.

This is a smart move for the mayor, and necessary strictly for competitive reasons. Across the country, places including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas and New York are building out Wi-Fi networks in convention and downtown areas.

Like electricity, high-speed Internet access is now considered a basic service necessary to doing business.

Don't let this idea slip through the cracks of the bureaucracy or get pushed aside by politics, Mr. Mayor. It's much more important than the three paragraphs devoted to it in your message.

Getting urgent e-mail through

What happens when e-mail doesn't get through?

That's a concern for lots of businesses these days, and the motivation for a solution that a Birmingham company called Codespear (www.codespear.com) has embraced.

The company has developed an application called SmartMSG that allows urgent messages to be quickly broadcast to large groups of users without relying on an organization's e-mail system.

Short pop-up messages about health and safety issues, network outages, interest rate changes, company policies or emergencies are generated by the system and sent to devices ranging from desktop and laptop computers to cell phones, text pagers and handhelds.

Early adopters of the system include Quicken Loans and Ford Credit.

Contact MIKE WENDLAND at 313-222-8861 or [email protected]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Sounds like a good idea. I wonder how it'll be financed.

Kinda off topic, but....

I don't really like laptops, but things like this (plus the fact that my computer at work sucks) are really pushing towards looking at getting a laptop. Plus it'll give me another reason to enjoy going to downtown Detroit. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm also wondering how it will be financed. It's an excellent idea though.

I'm leaning towards getting rid of my PC & just getting a laptop the next time I upgrade. Laptops are much more convenient (and it will give me a reason to go to Detroit).

Actually I was in Detroit yesterday. I took lots of pics. I was surprised at the amount of construction going on. After seeing that, there is no way anyone will be able to tell me that the city is not rebounding. Around every corner there was some sort of new project :). It was great to be able to see change occuring. Plus, there were lots of people out, enjoying the sunshine. There were quite a few people around Campus Martius. I went shopping at the new Borders & some other stores. And there wasn't any shortage of restaurants to eat at either :). The future for the city is looking bright.

BTW, do you know how tall that new parking garage on Woodward is supposed to be? That thing is already up to like 10 levels! I guess parking is a necessary evil in a city that has no practical mass transit system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, I never really payed attention when the garage was first announced. I'm guessing it's topped out now. At least it fits in nicely with it's surroundings. And it's much better than surface parking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, anything is better than a surface lot. It looks to be about complete from the latest pics I've seen. It'll be like 10 or 11 levels. That'll hold a lot of cars. Hopefully they don't have to build any more...there's enough parking already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The city has started its wireless internet system already :).

Free wireless Net available

Beginning today, the Hard Rock Cafe inside Compuware's world headquarters at 45 Monroe St. downtown is offering free wireless Internet access. Ten other so-called "hot spots" are scheduled to open around the metro area by the end of the month.

That's according to the Detroit Wireless Project (www.dwp.org), the nonprofit group working to set up free wireless networks all over the metro Detroit area.

http://www.freep.com/money/tech/mwend5_20040305.htm

The Detroit Wireless Project

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I didn't expect it to happen this fast. I was also surprised to see that it'll spread throughout the metro. That fact doesn't really help downtown, but it does get Michigan back up to par.

Come on Detroit and Michigan - give me more reasons not to leave!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Come on Detroit and Michigan - give me more reasons not to leave!

Yep. That's exactly what I'm saying. They've got six years left to convince me, otherwise I'll be off living in another state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Brewery Offers Wi-Fi

The Detroit Beer Co., a downtown brewery and restaurant, is now offering complimentary wireless Internet access for its customers.

The business is located at 1529 Broadway, across from the Detroit Opera House.

Detroit Auto Scene

March 8, 2004

I've been meaning to go try the Detroit Beer Co. Restaurant out...I've heard it's really good. Now I have even more of a reason to go. LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.