Babcock Ranch wired for the future
Naples 5:00 a.m. ET June 11, 2017 | Naples Daily News
The classic styled homes with inviting front porches along broad sidewalks at Babcock Ranch harken back to simpler times.
But below the surface, this new town is all about the future — expanding and enhancing on classic hometown characteristics with cutting-edge technology and efficiency to create a whole new way of living.
Off State Road 31 north of the Lee County Civic Center, the solar-powered town being built by Kitson & Partners will eventually be home to 50,000 people living and working in a town of 19,500 homes and apartments and 6 million square feet of commercial space — all constructed to Florida Green Building Standards and wired for the future.
Unprecedented technological infrastructure electronically coordinates energy, water, transportation and safety systems, and it equips homes and businesses with extraordinary bandwidth supporting extraordinary data speeds, mobile apps and global connectivity to free Wi-Fi.
“Advances just over the past few years make it possible for many people to work from anywhere.”
“Advances just over the past few years make it possible for many people to work from anywhere. At Babcock Ranch we have provided a technological environment that equips every home, the town center, neighborhood parks, even a park bench along a trail to serve as a mobile office,” said Rick Severance, president of Babcock Ranch. “Technology is truly transformational, and this is just one example of how we can leverage technology in a way that truly takes quality of life into consideration.”
Innovative technology is also the foundation for the passive and active conservation measures that are an integral part of Babcock Ranch’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Beyond the 75 megawatt Florida Power & Light solar power plant that produces more than enough clean, renewable energy to power all homes and businesses and Babcock Ranch, smart-grid technology combines with standards for energy-efficient design and construction to reduce total energy consumption community wide.
And the technological infrastructure equips homeowners to take the savings a step further. Those who embrace smart-home technologies can control their energy use with incredible accuracy — conserving resources while maximizing savings on their monthly energy bills.
The technology infrastructure also makes Babcock Ranch perfect for companies looking to locate in a solar-powered, sustainable community.
“Solar power, sustainable building, smart grid and other ‘clean techs’ are the future,”
-Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners
“Solar power, sustainable building, smart grid and other ‘clean techs’ are the future,” said Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners. “The next few years will usher in unprecedented opportunity, and Babcock Ranch is perfectly positioned to attract and incubate innovative companies who want to reduce their environmental footprint and explore new and emerging sustainable technologies.”
Babcock Ranch is also implementing cutting-edge transportation alternatives that will make it easy for residents to leave gas-fueled cars at home. Those with electric vehicles can recharge at solar-powered charging kiosks scattered around town, and self-driving shuttles will soon be running regular routes. Through a partnership with TransDev, Babcock Ranch is developing a comprehensive system of public transportation and moving forward with plans to be an early adoption site for on-demand self-driving vehicles.
“Our technology focus opens up opportunities for partnerships, innovation, entrepreneurship — a living laboratory where great new technologies are incubated, adopted and continually improved to stay on the cutting edge,” Severance said. “For future generations, we are creating an environment where our kids will feel open to exploring new ideas and using technology in new ways to transform their lives.”
Babcock Ranch partnered with CenturyLink to equip every home and business with a Gigabit of fiber-optic connectivity, the equivalent of 1,000 megabits. To provide perspective — typical consumers subscribe to around 20 or 40 megabits. The lightning-fast fiber service at Babcock Ranch is the two-way data conduit for municipal services, the fabric for social networks in the town and the backbone for the smart grid security system, transportation network, health care network and much more.
According to CenturyLink, fiber is the ultimate transmission medium because it is not susceptible to lightning or power influences, making it much more reliable than traditional copper or co-axial networks. Perhaps more importantly, it is set up to be future-proof over multiple decades. About the size of a human hair, the fiber already in place can accommodate 5, 10 or even 15 gigabits of data as technology advances.
“Whatever tomorrow brings, we are primed and ready for the next wave of ‘ah-has’ when it comes to how you live in your home and your community.”
“Gig fiber, global wireless availability, home and vehicle automation — we are just scratching the surface as to the technologies available for smarter living. Things that seemed impossible a few years ago are already commonplace, essential and sometimes even taken for granted,” Severance said. “Whatever tomorrow brings, we are primed and ready for the next wave of ‘ah-has’ when it comes to how you live in your home and your community.”