Brad Gleeson Discusses CIVIQ Smartscapes

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Brad Gleeson has been wearing several hats: as chief commercial officer of Comark Corporation, chief commercial officer of CIVIQ Smartscapes LLC and co-founder and managing partner of TargetPath.

Brad GLEESONHowever, Gleeson claims that he’s now 100% focused at CIVIQ Smartscapes, an independent spinoff company from Comark.

“Comark is now concentrating on providing industrial, building, military and marine ruggedized computers and related equipment, and TargetPath’s co-founder and managing partner Scott Hix is managing TargetPath,” says Gleeson.

“Of course, there is some shared automation with Comark for CIVIQ Smartscapes.

“At the moment. CIVIQ Smartscapes is concentrating on New York’s LinkNYC project through Comark’s partnership. But we are already talking to other cities worldwide. We see similar, and different, opportunities and we hope to hear about one or two of these by the first half of 2016.”

For those readers unfamiliar with CIVIQ Smartscapes, many of its services offered were originally part of Comark’s interactive solutions, but as CIVIQ Smartscapes, there is now a major effort being put behind the design and manufacture interactive ‘smart city’ communications structures. After two years of planning, CIVIQ Smartscapes has been operating since February, but was only officially incorporated a couple of months ago, says Gleeson.

The smart cities marketplace has greatly expanded. Municipalities, city leaders and planners are looking to technology and data to solve urban growth challenges, with the addition of networked communications devices to provide residents, business owners and visitors with a wide range of social benefits and services, and to fuel connectivity and commerce.

The types of benefits and services provided by smartscape structures vary depending on a city’s need, but could include free public Wi-Fi, wayfinding and emergency communications, for example. CIVIQ Smartscapes has devised an innovative and scalable funding model by which cities worldwide can implement customized hardware solutions with up to 100% of the cost, from planning and manufacturing to installation and ongoing operation, covered by non-tax revenue streams.

“We feel that we’ve developed a good business model,” says Gleeson. “The services offered are based on each community’s specific needs. The benefits of Wi-Fi are obvious for an urban corridor’s communications, but things like seasonal information, emergency services, transit info, certainly vary. The benefits for citizens are positive, and we work with partners according to what each community needs.”

In New York, Comark is providing the attractive 9’ LinkNYC structures that offer Wi-Fi and many other features (including, among others, free long distance calling anywhere in the US, digital advertising screens and charging connections for digital devices.) Partners in the CityBridge team (set up before CIVIQ was a separate company) for LinkNYC include Titan and Control Group (now one company under the name Intersection) and Qualcomm, with addition partners Antenna Design and Transit Wireless.

“We have tremendous interest outside the US, since every large city is dealing with congestion, and with connectivity needs,”
says Gleeson. “We would adapt and integrate according to each one’s needs. And if we get contracts in Europe (or elsewhere), we know that we’d have to open offices there. It’s part of our plan – and we’d want to hire locally.”

In the US, Gleeson says, ”We’re just scratching the surface at the moment, looking at other cities’ needs and what they have in terms of everything from light poles to transit.”

He says that the company has been involved in some work at Brooklyn Army Terminal, a mixed-used commercial development on the site of the historic US Military Ocean Terminal dating back to 1919. CityBridge has installed Comark’s initial prototypes on the grounds of BAT as a testing location for the LinkNYC project. These units are currently in a fenced and secured environment within the BAT development, but “we anticipate installing full functional units there among the early round of production deployments.”

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