CES 2017 brings a video view of DIA’s huge new welcome signs

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The city of Denver’s partnership with electronics giant Panasonic yielded a bit of PR gold for both as Mayor Michael Hancock spoke on stage Wednesday at CES, the technology expo in Las Vegas.

Hancock joined Joe Taylor, the company’s North America CEO, to talk about a Panasonic-powered community planned for Denver International Airport. Meanwhile, a huge screen showed a video rendering of an $11.5 million series of welcome signs that Panasonic and DIA will jointly install on Peña Boulevard.

There’s not yet much to the development, called Peña Station Next, but Hancock was able to claim some early victories, including the installation of “smart” street lights near the light-rail station.

The place is “becoming a laboratory for simple, innovative solution to how a city operates,” he told the audience, with several thousand people watching via live stream. He has “never seen” the city’s Department of Public Works more excited, he said.

The next few months also are expected to bring air-quality sensors, wi-fi and an autonomous shuttle to the nearly 400-acre site. Also, Panasonic will be working with DIA on a quarter-mile series of LED signs near the airport.

The illuminated welcome signs/video installation/whatever, meanwhile, should be installed on Peña Boulevard this year. (DIA is pitching in $7 million, which it intends to eventually make back through advertising.)

“The biggest surprises are yet to come,” Hancock added. ” … I think that the ultimate payoff for the investment in smart city technology comes from the fact that we are on top of the technology as a smart city.”

Panasonic is expected to move several hundred employees to a new office at the site by 2018.

Hancock’s segment starts around 2:29:00 in this video.

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