NYC launches urban-tech accelerator program

A new program gives city agencies, private companies and academic institutions a chance to pilot technologies that solve urban challenges.
NYC buildings
(Roy Rochlin / Getty Images)

The New York City Office of Technology and Innovation announced a new accelerator program on Wednesday that allows city agencies, private companies and academic institutions to test technologies that solve urban challenges.

The office’s NYC Smart City Testbed Program is meant to streamline and accelerate the process of testing emerging technologies that tackle major challenges facing local government agencies and New Yorkers, a news release said. The program, which is currently seeking applicants, connects organizations with city resources. They’ll receive support from the city’s technology office and the opportunity collaborate with city agencies and outside partners. The technology office is also making public assets such as the city’s skyline or waterfronts potential test sites for the pilots.

The city is seeking ideas that improve the city’s operations, service delivery and efficiency or help close the digital divide.

The Office of Technology and Innovation also announced three inaugural pilots, which include using drones to identify building flaws that increase greenhouse gas emissions and air quality improvement devices to reduce particulate matter and mitigate local air pollution.


Each pilot is slated to last 6-9 months with two pilots launching per quarter, starting this fall. The city plans to test as many as eight pilot technology projects each year. The city said organizations must self-fund their pilot costs for a chance at seeing their technologies scaled more widely across the city.

The city’s “smart cities” team said it will review proposals once a month and share potential matches with city agency partners once a quarter before viable companies are selected to develop proofs of concept.

“New York City is where tech innovators from across the globe come to turn their big idea into the next big thing,” NYC Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser said in the news release. “The NYC Smart City Testbed Program presents an exciting, win-win opportunity for companies and city agencies to collaborate on cutting-edge pilots that leverage smart city technologies to create a better and more equitable future for all New Yorkers. We look forward to the innovative partnerships and solutions this program will inspire in the months and years ahead.”      

Keely Quinlan

Written by Keely Quinlan

Keely Quinlan reports on privacy and digital government for StateScoop. She was an investigative news reporter with Clarksville Now in Tennessee, where she resides, and her coverage included local crimes, courts, public education and public health. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Stereogum and other outlets. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism and master’s in social and cultural analysis from New York University.

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