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Several decades ago, Walt Disney envisioned self-contained communities that would use the latest in technology to bring all of life's necessities – healthcare, employment, entertainment, recreation, even travel – within easy reach. Now a planned community within site of Disney World is putting that vision to the test, with projects expected to make heavy use of mobile health technology.
The 7,000-acre master planned community, called Lake Nona, is being touted as a "living lab" for a pair of projects designed to improve health and wellness. In two separate announcements this week, the Orlando community will be one of nine global "Smart+Connected" communities being developed by Cisco; and it will be the focus of a research study conducted by Wellness & Prevention, a Johnson & Johnson company, which will use mobile technology and behavioral science to develop population health and wellness initiatives.
"We are excited to work with Cisco to deliver a vibrant, high-quality community that will offer an unmatchable experience to every person that sets foot on its grounds," said Thad Seymour, Lake Nona's senior vice president, in a press release issued by Cisco. "The work we are doing today will contribute to sustainable economic growth and improved management of local living and working conditions and will facilitate a higher quality of life for Lake Nona and beyond for many, many years to come.”
Over the next 15 years, Cisco will work with the Tavistock Group, a private investment organization, and Dais, a communications and technology company, to build out its Smart+Connected Communities solutions, including Smart Work Centers and Incubation Centers, in a community that is expected to house as many as 25,000 residents. The planned city will include educational facilities, recreation centers, retail and work centers and a medical facility. In addition, officials say its location near Orlando's airport will allow it to become an "aerotropolis," with easy access to the global marketplace.
Among the initiatives planned by Cisco are a "lifelong medical care delivery system model," which will employ an integrated IT network and mobile devices to push healthcare and wellness outside the walls of the medical center and into the rest of the community.
Other services include a virtual safe community, tying together law enforcement and emergency management services with technology-enabled sensors and security services; a life-long learning and education delivery model that integrates broadband access and other collaboration tools; smart work centers that allow for flexible work options and collaboration; and entertainment, sports, retail and travel services designed to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gases and improve access.
"Lake Nona is using ICT (information and communications technology) as a strategic differentiator, putting technology at the foundation of its expansive community," said Anil Menon, Cisco's president of globalization and Smart+Connected Communities, in the release. "Utilizing the network as the platform, Lake Nona will be much more sustainable, allowing for a smarter, better designed and better managed community that will bring about new and improved citizen experiences today and in the future."
Separately, in its Lake Nona Life Study, Wellness & Prevention will be developing web-based personal health assessments designed to analyze health, human performance and well-being. The project will evaluate the health and wellness of residents over several years, offering access to the company's HealthMedia Digital Health Coaching programs.
"Everyone is looking for a sustainable model around wellness," said Sanjay Gupta, the company's president, in a press release. "The Lake Nona Life Study carves out a unique opportunity for business, academia, government and medicine to unite on this issue and collect data beyond traditional channels. It's a rare chance to study wellness on a larger scale and care for individuals and communities at the same time."
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