A Fortune 500 company wants to help slingshot Spokane into the future.

Verizon says that Spokane’s commitment to operating as a smart city has the telecommunications giant thinking this is the right place to develop and test new technologies.

“We’ve been looking at Spokane for quite a long time. What the mayor has been able to do to the City of Spokane has been phenomenal. Everywhere you look you see progression. We see innovation and most importantly for us, we see inclusion,” said Lani Ingram, Vice President of Smart Communities at Verizon.

Verizon is the latest company to partner with a local organization called Urbanova; the group that’s made Spokane’s University District a proving ground for test-driving new ideas that can make urban living safer and more efficient.

“In large part, our work here will be about gathering, analyzing and harnessing data to help us make smarter decisions and truly create the city of choice. Decisions that save time, money or energy,” said Spokane mayor David Condon.

Urbanova is a collaboration with local and international companies, higher education, the City, and University District.

With help from partners like Avista and Itron, Urbanova is testing how energy generated from solar panels can work in harmony with power coming off the grid.

Another project along Division dims street lights when sensors show traffic is thinning out for the night.

On top of the roof at the EWU Center you’ll find an air quality monitoring system to help gather real-time information about air pollution and allow people to make healthier choices about avoiding it.

Cities like Spokane are important to the future. That’s because half of the world lives in mid-sized cities like Spokane.

As our population increases, we need some smart, sustainable answers that fit our community.

“So that our urban environments continue to be welcoming and to be the places where we all want to live, grow families, grow jobs and apply technology, without having to think about it, to make our lives better,” explained Kim Kentz, Chief Executive Officer of Urbanova.

And the best news of all is, the research that these companies are doing here can help Spokane lead the way to the future at a reasonable cost.

Urbanova’s goal is to create technologies that can eventually replicated in other places.

So here in Spokane we’re kind of like guinea pigs, first in line for getting fed some high-tech benefits.

Jeff Humphrey, media content coordinator, City of Spokane