In January of 2008, the Hollywood City Commission approved a $13.9 million performance contract with Johnson Controls to outfit the city with a Wi-Fi (wireless) communications platform to allow for automated water meter reading, wireless access to Federal and State crime databases for police officers, and wireless access to the city’s network for building inspectors and code enforcement officers working in the field. The technology project was officially launched early last month (July 9, 2009).
Dubbed Wireless Hollywood: Efficiency Through Innovation, the creation of a free outdoor Wi-Fi system throughout the city will improve the efficiency of numerous city departments including Public Utilities, Police, Code Enforcement, and Building. The operational and energy efficiencies are expected to save Hollywood more than $23 million during a 15-year period.
Johnson Controls, under the terms of the performance contract, guarantees the performance of the technology improvements. The savings will come from the performance of the wireless technologies, which will create operational efficiencies in multiple departments and streamline many city functions.
“This project puts Hollywood on the cutting edge of Florida’s cities in terms of technology,” said Hollywood City Manager Cameron Benson. “As we seek to attract more international tourists and businesses and build on Hollywood’s unique location as the home to Port Everglades, this wireless platform becomes a selling point few other cities can offer.”
The Wi-Fi network offers all businesses additional flexibility, but will particularly benefit creative industries whose employees are often working on location. This initiative underscores the city of Hollywood’s commitment to using technology to enhance the efficiency and quality of municipal services. It’s a commitment that earned Hollywood the distinction of being named a top 10 digital city in both 2007 and 2008 by the Center for Digital Government.
The new Wi-Fi communications platform offers both the 2.4 frequency that allows users to enjoy outdoor Internet access at speeds similar to that of DSL, and the licensed 4.9 frequency, enabling police officers in squad cars to download information vital to public safety quickly and efficiently over a secure network.
The wireless technology will also enable Hollywood’s water meter reading process to become fully automated, ensuring all utility customers obtain accurate and timely water billings based on actual usage. An automated system also gives the city flexible billing options and greater leak detection capabilities. The city will utilize the wireless network to continually improve operational efficiency and customer service by providing wireless access to other city staff responsible for performing work in the field.