Schenectady expanding free Wi-Fi access through Smart City program (with video)

Schenectady Gary McCarthy discusses the city's Smart City project during an event at Steinmetz Park on Friday, alongside Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.

Schenectady Gary McCarthy discusses the city's Smart City project during an event at Steinmetz Park on Friday, alongside Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam.

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SCHENECTADY — Access to free, public Wi-Fi is expanding throughout Schenectady through the deployment of Smart City program funding, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy announced at an event at Steinmetz Park on Friday.

The city also announced a partnership with AION Biosystems for the Stay Well program, which will see the tech company team up with Ellis Medicine to introduce a groundbreaking remote patient monitoring program to mitigate infection by monitoring patients’ body temperature via a body-worn device slightly larger than a quarter.

The third component of the city’s Smart City project is Your Schenectady, a website that will allow residents to access the public wireless connection and city services.

The Smart City project was funded with $2.6 million in federally funded Community Development Block Grants, with State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, assisting in securing an additional $500,000 in state funding for a Crane Street infrastructure project.

John Coluccio, Schenectady signal superintendent, said on Friday that once the city’s current crop of 250 wireless access points are activated, 40-45% of the city’s population would be covered by the public Wi-Fi program on top of existing wireless infrastructure.

The wireless access points have been targeted to supply internet accessibility to low-and-moderate income areas, with the Friday event in Goose Hill designed to highlight the public Wi-Fi supplied to the neighborhood.

“There’s equity and there’s the ability to deliver city services,” McCarthy said of the expanded wireless access. “This works more effectively with code enforcement, there’s a medical aspect. The fire department will also work with some of the equipment we have on the app, so there’s something there for everybody. It complements what the school district is doing. Hopefully it enhances the livability of living here and doing business in Schenectady.”

Samara Barend, CEO of AION Biosystems, said the iTempShield temperature-monitoring technology will be rolled out to the general public in the near future pending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

“We’re starting with Ellis’ oncology patients and then we’ll be rolling it out to the broader public,” she said following Friday’s event.

The technology was in development prior to the company’s partnership with the city.

“The mayor [McCarthy] had known what we were doing and reached out so we could work together on the proposal to the state for this,” she said. “It’s quite rare for a city to be so forward-thinking.”

Santabarbara was outfitted with an iTempShield device after the Friday event, which he plans to wear for two months to monitor his temperature.

“It’s really about embracing technology to benefit our community,” he said. “Seeing the Smart City technology be deployed here in the city, ahead of a lot of other communities, I think speaks to our community and our willingness to embrace technology and help make people’s lives better.”

The iTempShield devices will monitor patients’ body temperature continuously for 60 days, with clinicians contacted if a patient’s temperature rises above a set threshold.

“We’re an early adopter of this ground-breaking technology,” Philip Schwartz, senior director of marketing and communications at Ellis Medicine, said during the Friday event. “Remote patient monitoring and helping reduce hospital readmissions, which is just better for the patients and better for the system overall because it reduces overcrowding of our system. This is all about detecting changes in health earlier.”

The Your Schenectady website will allow city residents to access services and wireless internet in one location.

“On Your Schenectady, you’re going to be able to connect with your health information, your education information, your arts and cultural information and your city services,” Marlene McTigue, director of digital strategy for Your Schenectady, said on Friday. “It’s an opportunity for people to find out everything that they need to live their best life here in the community.”

Your Schenectady is a partnership between the city and the Daily Gazette Holding Company, with no Gazette newsroom staff being used on the Your Schenectady project.

Schenectady Republican mayoral candidate Matt Nelligan previously criticized the arrangement.

“You hear about state-run media in third world countries and totalitarian systems, but I never thought we would see something so profoundly wrong — that undermines democratic government right here in the City of Schenectady,” Nelligan declared in a statement.

According to Gazette officials, Your Schenectady team does not have any influence over Daily Gazette content or reporting.

“Your Schenectady is a separate entity from our news operation. Our newsroom operates entirely independently from the new publication,” Daily Gazette Editor Miles Reed noted in a statement.

Contact Ted Remsnyder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TedRemsnyder.

Categories: News, Schenectady, Schenectady County


Bill Marincic

So the question that won’t be answered is how will they be monitoring the people that sign in to their website. Is there an end-user agreement and what does it say about privacy? You would think that the reporter would ask those questions but as with most of the blind media of today, they all have an agenda. Honest news reporting is a thing of the past.


Marincic: “ Honest news reporting is a thing of the past.”. So where do you get your “Honest news reporting”?

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