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Meet the woman hired to turn Dallas into a ‘smart city’

Exterior of the West End Market Place in downtown Dallas photographed Tuesday December 15, 2015. (Ron Baselice/The Dallas Morning News)

The West End will serve as the pilot neighborhood for Dallas’ smart cities project. A coalition of large companies and local groups wants to use technology to make the city more sustainable and efficient. (Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer)

Dallas’ effort to become a high-tech, smart city has a new leader. Jennifer Sanders has been named the first executive director of the Dallas Innovation Alliance, the group announced today.

Sanders is co-founder of the alliance, a public-private partnership that began last fall. It started with about a dozen Dallas companies and groups that teamed up to look for ways to combine technology and data to cut costs, boost energy efficiency and improve quality of life. They’ll explore areas including health care, public safety, transportation and energy conservation.

The West End neighborhood will serve as a pilot because of its downtown Dallas location and proximity to public transportation. Sanders said she’ll announce the first few projects for the West End this spring. From there, the effort will spread to other neighborhoods.

Dallas Innovation Alliance is led by the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, a gathering place and co-working space for the city’s startup community that’s also in the West End. Its founding members include Mayor Mike Rawlings, AECOM, AT&T, Cisco, Dallas 2030 District, DART, Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, Deloitte, Downtown Dallas Inc., Ericsson, GE, IMB, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, Texas Research Alliance and the Real Estate Council.

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